Kawkaba: Highlights from the Barjeel Art Foundation

Loan exhibition

  • Event date 20 July – 23 August 2023
  • Event location London
Kawkaba: Highlights from the Barjeel Art Foundation is an immersive journey through the transformative epochs and powerful voices that have shaped the modern Arab art landscape. Assembled from geographies within the Arab world, Kawkaba, “Constellation,” resonates with a myriad of artists and creators - some celebrated, others underrepresented. Drawn from the collection of the Barjeel Art Foundation dedicated to the art of the Arab World, every work in the exhibition is a testament to the talent and ingenuity of artists of the region, reflecting their unique visions and the profoundly ingrained essences of their cultures.

The exhibition traces a historical trajectory - from the echoes of the colonial era to the present epoch, focusing on the captivating spirit of post-independence movements when art unraveled from its Western-dominated discourse. It illuminates the artist’s place in sight of the cultural and political transitions, addressing themes such as the rise of Pan-Arab nationalism, responses to globalization, and gender dynamics. It highlights the quest for innovative solutions between tradition and modernity, showcasing the syncretism of historical forms with contemporary techniques and ideas.

Kawkaba is a gender-balanced exhibition that presents masterpieces of leading figures of the field, such as Huguette Caland, Ibrahim El-Salahi, Etel Adnan, Marwan, Safia Farhat, Jewad Selim, Inji Efflatoun, and Mohamed Melehi. It concurrently sheds light on underrepresented artists - based in the region, from the diaspora, or exiled -, who have highly contributed to modern Arab Art. Kawkaba is a window into the soul of the Arab world, an exploration of its complexities, and a tribute to its resilience and creativity. Through this exhibition, visitors are invited to traverse the artistic spirit of the Arab world and partake in its unrivalled transformative journey.

Explore Christie’s Middle East



Christie's London

Christie’s London
8 King St St. James’s
London, SW1Y 6QT

20 July – 23 August 2023

Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm
Open Saturdays 22 and 29 July, 12pm – 5pm
Closed weekends, including Saturdays 5, 12 and 19 August

Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060

A selection of jewellery and watches from our upcoming selling exhibition will also be on view during this time.

Special features

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi with (left) Two Diagonals, 1968, by Samia A. Halaby (Palestine, b. 1936) and (right) Vertical Rhythm, 1971-72, by Nadia Saikali (Lebanon, b. 1936). Courtesy of Barjeel Art Foundation. Photo: Amir Hazim


Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi of the Barjeel Art Foundation: ‘My aim is to have Arab art taught on a par with other art histories’

As Christie’s hosts London’s largest exhibition of modern and contemporary Arab art, we speak to the founder of the UAE-based Barjeel Art Foundation, whose unique collection is finding new audiences for Middle Eastern artists past and present

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi of the Barjeel Art Foundation

Panel discussion

Christie’s in conversation with founder of Barjeel Art Foundation

Christie’s invited the founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, to join our deputy chairman of the Middle East and North Africa, Dr Ridha Moumni, for a panel discussion in our King Street galleries

Visit Christie’s in London this summer for an exciting exhibition series celebrating Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World

Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World

You may also like

Browse all

Find what you love

Browse all art and objects

View all upcoming lots in Christie’s auctions and private sale works to buy now. Shop fine art, furniture, watches, jewellery, handbags and more.

Sell NFTs at Christie's

Sell with Christie’s

Request an auction estimate

Christie’s can guide you through the entire auction process. Once we have determined that your property is appropriate for sale at auction, our specialists will arrange every detail.

Buying privately at Christie's

Ready to take home

Explore Private Sales

Buy or sell fine art, decorative objects, jewellery and watches on your schedule.