Dalloul Art Foundation

Dalloul Art Foundation

BAYA MAHIEDDINE BAYA MAHIEDDINE

BAYA MAHIEDDINE, Algeria (1931 - 1998)

+-

Bio

Written by L’Or Iman Puymartin

Known simply as Baya, Algerian artist Baya Mahieddine was born Fatima Haddad in 1931. The daughter of a poor Kabyle family in Bordj El Kiffan, she lost both her parents at the age of five and was raised by her grandmother until the age of eleven. Unable to attend school, eleven-year-old Baya began working as a live-in servant for Marguerite Caminat, a Frenchwoman whose personal art collection included works by such notable modernists as Braque and Matisse. Baya would later refer to Caminat as her adoptive mother, for she first saw the artistic potential in her and encouraged her to develop her skills. Marguerite Caminat first noticed Baya’s talent when the artist was a young child, remarking on the enthusiasm with which she deftly modeled figures out of clay. 

Baya never received a formal education, but instead created work inspired by her personal experiences, utilizing colors and motifs drawn from Kabyle arts to give form to her imagination. In her works, the recurring topics of gardens, ceramics, and traditional textiles with intricate designs originated from her homeland’s visual culture. At merely sixteen years old, the artist caught the attention of French art dealer Aimé Maeght, at his friend’s atelier in Alger, the sculptor  Jean Peyrissac. Maeght invited Baya to show her work in his gallery in Paris. The same gallery exhibited some of France’s most renowned painters at the time, including Braque and Matisse, and through her connections to Maeght Baya came into contact with the élites of the French art world. She became somewhat of an overnight sensation, with artists and critics alike eager to exoticize her flamboyant, vibrant paintings as “primitive” or “childlike.” The French writer and poet André Breton authors a preface for the catalog of her first exhibition at La Galerie Maeght, in 1947. 

Baya remains for a few years in France, where she produces her ceramic works at the Atelier Madura in Vallauris. There she rubs shoulders with Picasso and Braque and, It is said that she became a muse to Picasso, infamous for his appropriation of non-Western visual forms and that the young artist may have informed his work on the series Women of Algiers (1954-1955).

The artist’s rise to prominence may have begun in France, but throughout her career, Baya remained based in Algeria. While many Western critics and artists called Baya a surrealist painter due to the dream-like nature of her work, she refused to be defined by occidental terminology, considering these classifications were a western culture’s hegemonic way of imposing their definitions onto non-western culture. The artist’s creations were rendered from deep and personal experiences that were primarily rooted in her childhood and home, where she remained even in times of turmoil. During the Algerian Revolution (1954-1962), Baya and her husband, composer Mahfoudh Mahieddine, were staunch proponents of Algerian independence, and the artist stopped painting for years to devote more time to the cause.  During the Algerian Civil War of the 1990s, when the country was particularly unsafe for artists and intellectuals, Baya refused an invitation to move to France, preferring to remain in the home to which she had devoted so much of her life. 

Baya’s art distinguishes itself in its rich, playful use of color and pattern, as well as its imaginative renderings of human figures, animals, and floral motifs. Her extravagant paintings of animals intertwined with instruments and fruit draw equally from her imagination, cultural surroundings, and daily life. For example, the artist would often incorporate her composer-husband’s instruments into her pieces, juxtaposed with patterns drawn from traditional murals and motifs of ceramic objects common to the region. Furthermore, at a time when many European artists continued to paint women in exoticized and sexualized ways, Baya populated her canvases with expressive, joyfully rendered women that complicated stereotypes about North African conservativism as well as norms of female representation. 

Baya died of an illness in Algeria in 1998, having left a substantial mark on Algerian, Middle Eastern, and European art worlds alike. Considered a cultural icon in her native Algeria, she and her work appeared on a series of Algerian postal stamps in the early 2000s. 

Sources 

"Baya Mehieddine: A Profile from the Archives." Jadaliyya. July 6, 2014. Accessed November 15, 2017. http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/18413/baya-mahieddine_a-profile-from-the-archives.

Chubb, Emma. "Baya Mahieddine." Mathaf Encyclopedia. Accessed November 15, 2017. http://www.encyclopedia.mathaf.org.qa/en/bios/Pages/Baya-Mahieddine-.aspx.

Kalsi, Jyoti. "Shining a spotlight on North African art." Gulf News. August 4, 2016. Accessed November 15, 2017. http://gulfnews.com/culture/arts/shining-a-spotlight-on-north-african-art-1.1873799.

Samuels, A. J. "Baya Mahieddine: The Young Artist Who Inspired Picasso." The Culture Trip. April 12, 2017. Accessed November 15, 2017. https://theculturetrip.com/africa/algeria/articles/baya-mahieddine-the-young-artist-who-inspired-picasso/.

+-

CV

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2018

Baya, Woman of Algiers, Grey Art Gallery, New York City

2013

Baya : créatrice chez les surréalistes, organized by Maeght Foundation at Le Musée Magnelli - Musée de la Céramique, Vallauris, France

1982

Baya, L'Orient des Provençaux, Musée Cantini, Marseille, France

1963

The National Museum of Fine Arts of Algiers, Algeria 

1947

Derrière le Miroir, Maeght Gallery, Paris, France

Selected Group Exhibitions

2020

Artistes De La Fraternité Algérienne 1963-2020, Centre culturel Algérien, Paris, France

2018

150 Years of Art at the Reattu Museum!,Reattu Museum, Arles Fine Arts Museum, Arles, France
Night Was Paper And We Were Ink, Barjeel Art Foundation Gallery, Maraya Art Center, Sharjah, UAE
Revolution Generations, Mathaf: Arab Museum Of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar

2017

100 Masterpieces of Modern and Contemporary Art: The Barjeel Collection, Museé de l’Institut du monde arabe, Paris, France
Des affinités éléctives II, MUba Eugène Leroy, Tourcoing, France
Paysages et Portraits dans la collection du Musée, Musée Public National d’Art Moderne et Contemporain d’Alger, Algiers, Algeria

2016

The Short Century, Barjeel art Foundation at Sharjah Museum, UAE
Looking at the World Around You. Contemporary Works from Qatar Museums, Fundacion Banco Santander, Madrid, Spain

2014

La Maison de verre, André Breton initiateur découvreur, Musée de Cahors Henri- Martin, Cahors, France
Summary, Part 1, Mathaf Collection, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar
Sky Over The East, Barjeel art Foundation at the Emirates Palace, UAE
Albert CAMUS et ses amis peintres, organized by the association Coup De Soleil, Centre Berthelot, Lyon, France

2013

Vallauris et la Fondation Maeght : une histoire d’amitié, Musée Magnelli (Musée de la Céramique), Vallauris, France
Modernités Multiples, 1905-1970, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
Black and Blue: A Mediterranean Dream
, MuCEM, Marseille, France
Intervening Space: From the Intimate to the World, The Mosaic Rooms, London, UK
Mathaf: The Paintings, Sculptures And Projects Garden, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar

2012

50 Années dʼArt Algérien, Musée national des Beaux-Arts, Dar Essalam, El Hamma, Algeria

2010

Sajjil: A Century of Modern Art, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar
Breaking the Veils: Women Artists from the Islamic World,exhibition organized by the Royal Society of Fine Arts in Jordan and the Pan-Mediterranean Women Artists Network of Greece, Catherine G. Murphy Gallery, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA 

2009

Flower Power, Centro Ricerca Arte Attuale, Villa Giulia, Verbania, Italy
Breaking the Veils: Women Artists from the Islamic World,exhibition organized by the Royal Society of Fine Arts in Jordan and the Pan-Mediterranean Women Artists Network of Greece, The Council on Middle East Studies (CMES), Yale, Institute of Sacred music, New Haven; Kennedy Center, Washington DC, USA

2008

Breaking the Veils: Women Artists from the Islamic World,exhibition organized by the Royal Society of Fine Arts in Jordan and the Pan-Mediterranean Women Artists Network of Greece, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg; Clinton Presidential Center, Little Rock (Arkansas), USA;  Art Gallery Eastbank Centre, Shepparton, Australia

2007

Alger Capitale de la Culture Arabe, The National Museum of Fine Arts of Algiers, Algeria
Breaking the Veils: Women Artists from the Islamic World, exhibition organized by the Royal Society of Fine Arts in Jordan and the Pan-Mediterranean Women Artists Network of Greece, The Interfaith Centre, Melbourne, Australia

2006

Centenaire Aimé Maeght: Dialogue avec le siècle,Fondation Marguerite et Aimé Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France
Breaking the Veils: Women Artists from the Islamic World, exhibition organized by the Royal Society of Fine Arts in Jordan and the Pan-Mediterranean Women Artists Network of Greece, Cultural Centre of Ourense, Ourense - Spain

2005

Breaking the Veils: Women Artists from the Islamic World, exhibition organized by the Royal Society of Fine Arts in Jordan and the Pan-Mediterranean Women Artists Network of Greece, Museo del Risorgimento Complesso del Vittoriano in Rome, Italy; Cultural Centre" Circulo Del Arte" in Barcelona – Spain

2004

Breaking the Veils: Women Artists from the Islamic World,exhibition organized by the Royal Society of Fine Arts in Jordan and the Pan-Mediterranean Women Artists Network of Greece, Edificio Varadero in Almeria, Spain; Museo di Storia Contemporanea in Milan, Italy; Placio Reale in Napoly- Italy; S. Francesco Della Scarpa in Lecce- Italy; Abbaye de Neumer Luxembourg, Centre Culturel de Rencontre in Luxembourg 

2003

The Twentieth Century in Algerian Art, Château Borély, Marseille and l’Orangerie du Sénat, Paris, France
Breaking the Veils: Women Artists from the Islamic World, exhibition organized by the Royal Society of Fine Arts in Jordan and the Pan-Mediterranean Women Artists Network of Greece, Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece; UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France; Fine Arts Museum in Valencia, Spain; The Foundation of the Three Cultures Expo in Seville, Spain

2002

Le pluriel des singuliers, Galerie d’art du Conseil général des Bouches-du-Rhône, Aix-en-Provence, France
Breaking the Veils: Women Artists from the Islamic World,exhibition organized by the Royal Society of Fine Arts in Jordan and the Pan-Mediterranean Women Artists Network of Greece, Rhodes- Greece

2001

L’Art Naïf Africain, Third International Biennale of Laval, Chapelle Saint-Julien, Laval, France

1998

Aux frontières de l’art brut, Halle Sainte Pierre, Paris, France

1995

Les effets du voyage: 25 artistes Algériens, Palais des congrès et de la culture, Le Mans, France

1994

Forces of Change: Artists of the Arab World, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., USA

1991

André Breton: La beauté convulsive, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
André Breton: La beauté convulsive, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Spain
Galerie Maitre Albert, Paris, France

1990

Trois femmes Peintres, Institut Du Monde Arabe, Paris, France
Wafabank, Casablanca, Morocco

1989

Contemporary Art from the Islamic World, Barbican Concourse Gallery, London, UK
Galerie Ipso, Brussels, Belgium

1988

Algérie, Expressions Multiples, Musée des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie, Musée de la Vieille Charité, Marseille, France
Bonjour Picasso, Musée Pablo Picasso, Antibes, France

1987

Algérie, Expressions Multiples, Musée des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie, Paris, France
Galerie Muhammad Issiakhem, Algiers, Algeria

1984

Communal Cultural Centre, Aubagne, France

1983

Galerie de l’union nationale des arts plastiques, , Algiers, Algeria

1978

Galerie Mohamed Racim, Algiers, Algeria

1974

Galerie de l’union nationale des arts plastiques, Algiers, Algeria
Galerie des 4 Colonnes, Algiers, Algeria
Galerie Mohamed Racim, Algiers, Algeria

1971

Galerie de l’union nationale des arts plastiques, Algiers, Algeria

1969

Galerie de l’union nationale des arts plastiques, Algiers, Algeria

1967

Galerie de l’union nationale des arts plastiques, Algiers, Algeria

1964

Exposition des peintres Algériens, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, France
Galerie 54, Algiers, Algeria

1963

Ibn Khaldoun Hall, Algiers, Algeria

1962

Algerian Painters, Musée des beaux-arts, Algiers, Algeria         

1950

Alhambra Hall, Maison de l’artisanat, Algiers, Algeria

Awards and Honors

2018

12 December Google Doodle celebrates Late Algerian artist Baya Mahieddine in the memory of her 87thbirthday.

2008

The Algerian post issued two stamps representing a portrait and a painting of Baya.

Collections 

The National Museum of Fine Arts of Algiers, Algeria
Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar
Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon
Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE
Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Jordan
Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France
Musée des Arts décoratifs de Paris, France
Fonds national d'art contemporain de Paris (FRAC), France
Reattu Museum, Arles Fine Arts Museum, Arles, France
Musée Cantini, Marseille, France
Collection d'art brut de Lausanne, Switzerland

+-

Videos

+-

Exhibitions

BAYA MAHIEDDINE Artwork

Related with BAYA MAHIEDDINE