After an exhibition of some of the works was presented at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, a new exhibition featuring 100 masterpieces is now at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. In an era when works and heritage created by Arab artists are at risk of being destroyed in Syria and Iraq, discovering pieces from the Barjeel Collection seems significant.
The pieces retrace the history of Arab art from the second half of the 20th century. It takes in paintings by the likes of Marwan Kassab Bachi (1934-2016, a Syrian artist based in Berlin), the Egyptian artist Ahmed Morsi who was born in 1930, and Etel Adnan, the 92-year-old Lebanese artist.
As artists with origins from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and elsewhere are exhibited together, a weaving of stories of Arab art and the complexities of the region comes under the spotlight.