• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7802

    International Modern and Contemporary Art

    29 April 2009, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

  • Lot 61

    Laila Shawa (Palestinian, b. 1940)

    An Endangered Species (from the series Women and the Veil)

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Laila Shawa (Palestinian, b. 1940)
    An Endangered Species (from the series Women and the Veil)
    signed and dated 'LRS 88.' (lower left); signed, dated and titled (on label on the reverse); signed on the stretcher
    oil on canvas
    40 x 30in. (101.5 x 76cm.)
    Painted in 1988


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    'An Endangered Species is the first in a substantial body of paintings divided into three well-known series - Women and the Veil, Hands of Fatima and Women and Magic - characteristic of Laila Shawas mid-career signature style. It exemplifies Shawas creative preoccupation since the 1960s: reduction of form to fields of colour and the communication of a socio-political message.

    The impetus for An Endangered Species was furnished by the re-emergence of the veil in Gaza during the First Intifada, a phenomenon which Shawa has consistently utilized for the exploration of themes round the concepts of individual responsibility as the basis for a stable society. Formally, the composition has been reduced to a decorative play of vibrant colours and pattern contrasted by the stylised, black shapes of the womens eyes. Despite the riot of uniquely designed veils, mask-like and empty, the figures are inherently devoid of individuality.' (Christa Paula, art historian, 2009)

    Another work from this series entitled The Impossible Dream is a highlight of the collection of the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, published in Widjan Ali, Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, 2005, p.150.

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    Exhibited

    London, The Mayfair Gallery, London 1992
    Amman, The Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, 1990
    Baghdad, Baghdad Biennial, 1988