Dalloul Art Foundation

Dalloul Art Foundation

JUMANA EL HUSSEINI JUMANA EL HUSSEINI

JUMANA EL HUSSEINI, Palestine (1932 - 2018)

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Bio

Written by Alessandra Amin

Jumana El Husseini was born on April 2nd, 1932, in Jerusalem, where she lived until her family’s forced flight in 1947. El Husseini’s family ultimately settled in Lebanon, where, in 1953, the artist began an undergraduate degree in political science at the Beirut College for Women (now the Lebanese American University). An interest in politics came naturally to her, having been born into a prominent family of Palestinian nationalists; her grandfather, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, served as Grand Mufti of Jerusalem during the British Mandate and was an avid opponent of both British and Zionist colonial rule. Jumana’s educational path took a different direction when she transferred to the American University of Beirut, where she enrolled in an art class and was encouraged by her teachers to develop her skills. She graduated from AUB in 1957 and participated in her first group exhibition at the Sursock Museum three years later. El Husseini lived and worked in Beirut until the Israeli invasion of 1982, when she relocated to Paris, a city she would call home for the rest of her life.

During the 1960s and 1970s, as the late artist and art critic Kamal Boullata has noted, Beirut’s Palestinian artists generally operated either in the orbit of the PLO in the refugee camps orthe more cosmopolitan world of Beirut’s art galleries. Husseini was a notable exception, bridging the scenes with art that was both politically committed and aesthetically experimental. From the very beginning, Palestine was her primary source of artistic inspiration, and the city of Jerusalem became a recurring theme in her work. Rather than painting the city “realistically,” however, Husseini broke the stone buildings of her youth down to basic, deliberately “naïve” geometric shapes, which she rendered in limited, often cheerful color palettes, occasionally accented with gold. Notably, her depictions of Jerusalem are almost always devoid of people, and their emptiness adds to the dreamlike quality endowed by her strategic use of color and negative space. With celestial and oneiric effects, the artist allows the viewer to gaze at Jerusalem as if looking through her own dreams. 

Throughout her career, El Husseini worked in numerous media, from painting and sculpture to ceramics and embroidery. By the early 1970s, Husseini had begun to work in mixed media, combining, for example, oil paint with stitching to create compositions that were uniquely multidimensional and unwilling to acknowledge a border between “fine arts” and “handicrafts.” In Paris, she began to explore more abstract compositions, shifting from her usual array of whites and bright hues to darker, moodier colors and making extensive use of the Arabic language (and forms derived from it). During the late 1980s through the 1990s, Husseini created numerous mixed-media works in which she scratched scribbles, shapes, and words into paint, creating compositions that were at once morose and chaotic; she claimed to see these works as letters to her dead mother, who was buried in Jerusalem and whose grave she thus could not visit.

Though she was unable to return to the city that so inspired her, El Husseini continued to create art well into her old age. She passed away in Paris on April 11th, 2018. 

Sources 

Artist’s website, http://www.jumanaelhusseini.com

Kamal Boullata, Palestinian Art 1850 to the Present, London: Saqi, 2009

Kamal Boullata, “Artists Re-Member Palestine in Beirut,Journal of Palestine Studies, v. 32 #4, (summer 2003)

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CV

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2004

Galerie Joëlle Mortier Valat, Paris, France

2002

Darat Al Funun, Amman, Jordan
Al Ma’mal Gallery, Jerusalem, Palestine
Qattan Foundation, Ramallah, Palestine 

1993

Anadil Gallery, Jerusalem, Palestine

1991

Argile Gallery, London, U. K.
Shoman Institute, Amman, Jordan 

1990

Gallery Etienne Dinet, Paris, France 

1989

Soviet Friendship Center, Moscow, USSR
Addison Ripley Gallery, Washington DC, USA
Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA 

1987

Tour Exhibition in the United States Arab Cultural Center, San Francisco, USA
Santa Theresa Library, San Jose, USA
Association of Arab Diplomats, American University, Washington DC, USA
Dag Hammershold Gallery, New York, USA
Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, USA
College University, Toronto, Canada
Algonquin College, Ottawa, Canada

1984

Arab Heritage Gallery, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia 

1981

Redec Gallery, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 

1979

Dome of Jeddah, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 

1973

Delta Gallery, Rome, Italy
Gallery des Antiquaires, Beirut, Lebanon 

1971

Bonn University
Stuttgart University
Staedtische Galerie Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany 

1970

American University, Beirut, Lebanon 

1968

German Cultural Center, Beirut, Lebanon
German Cultural Center, Tripoli, Lebanon 

1965

Woodstock Gallery, London, U. K. 

Selected Group Exhibitions 

2015

Rituals of Signs and Transitions (1975-1995), Drat Al Funun, Amman, Jordan

2013

Tajreed, CAP, Kuwait, Kuwait 

2008

Nabad Gallery, Amman, Jordan 

2007

Festival TransMéditerranée Grasse, France 

2003

Château Dufresne, Montréal, Canada
Porte d’Amboise, Medieval City, Rhodes Athens
Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece 

2002

National Museum, Amman, Jordan
Darat Al Funun, Amman, Jordan 

2001

Chateau Dufresne, Montréal, Canada 

2000

Université Paris 13, Villet Aneuse, France
Maison Théâtre et Danse, Epinye sur Seine, France

1999

Agial Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon
Darat Al Funun, Amman, Jordan 

1998

Konstakademien Vastra Galleriet Fredsgatan, Stockholm, Sweden 

1997

Beirut University, Beirut, Lebanon 
Librairie La Hune, Paris, France
Conservatoire Français Poulenc, Paris, France
Institut de Monde Arabe, Paris, France 

1996

Darat Al Funun, Amman, Jordan 

1995

Gwinnett Art Center, Atlanta, USA
Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, USA
China Women’s Conference, Beijing, China 
Artothéque de Montréal, Montréal, Canada 

1994

The National Museum of Women in the Art, Washington DC, USA
Dudley House-Lehman, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA
Wolfson Galleries Community College Miami Dade, USA
Alif Gallery, Washington DC, USA
Darat Al Funun, Amman, Jordan
Alwasiti Gallery, Jerusalem, Palestine
Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, USA 

1993

Réalités Nouvelles au Grand Palais, Paris, France
Darat Al Funun, Amman, Jordan 

1992

Salon de Mai au Grand Palais, Paris, France 

1991

Espace Voltaire, Paris, France

1990

Beffroi de Douai, Douai, France

1989

Barbican, London, U.K.
Institut de Monde Arabe, Paris, France 

1988

Palace Museum, Vienna, Austria
Museum of Modern Art Tokyo, Japan 

1987

Group Exhibition sponsored by Palestinian Women’s Union, Kuwait City, Kuwait 

1986

Christian Union Center, Geneva, Switzerland
Arab League, Paris, France
Salle d’Exposition de Sépulcre, Caen, France
Hall d’Honneur de l’Hôtel de Ville, Brest, France
Pavillon le Verdurier, Limoges, France
Salle des Expositions de l’Hôtel de Ville, Carcassonne, France
Galerie du Vestibule de la Salle Arago, Hôtel de Ville, Perpignan, France
Galerie Passerelle et Mathurnin, Tours, France 

1985

Palais des Congrès et de la Culture, Lorient, France
 Mall Gallery, London, U.K. 

1984

Concert House, Stockholm, Sweden

1983

The Friends House, London, U.K. 

1982

Kunsternes Hus, Christiansands Kunst Forening, Oslo, Norway
Arab University, Beirut, Lebanon 

1981

Armenia

1980

Oriental Art Museum, Moscow, USSR
National Museum of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Ceramic Museum, Saragosse, Spain
Ausstellungs Zentrum Frensektum, Berlin, Germany
Modern Art Museum, Warsaw, Poland
Culture House, Byton, Poland 

1979

Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
École de Beaux-Arts, Lisbon, Portugal
United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland 

1978

Japanese Society of Afro-Asian Artists, Tokyo, Japan 

1975

Exhibition of Arab Artists, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia 

1974

First Arab Biennial, Baghdad, Iraq; Exhibition of Arab Artists at the Arab University, Beirut, Lebanon 

1973

The Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC, USA

1972

Delta Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon; Labercatia Gallery, Rome, Italy (Won Gold Medallion) 
Biennial event, Kuwait City, Kuwait; 10th International of the Youth, Berlin, Germany

1971

Exhibition of Arab Artists, Damascus, Syria 

1969

Alexandria Biennial, Alexandria, Egypt
Exhibition of Contemporary Artists, London, U.K.

1967

Sursock Museum, Beirut, Lebanon 

1966

Centre Culturel, Paris, France; Centre Culturel, Brussels, Belgium 

1964

Sursock Museum, Beirut, Lebanon 

1963

Stairs of the American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon 

1962

Women’s College of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon 

1960

Sursock Museum, Beirut, Lebanon 

Awards and Honors

1972

Gold Medal, Labercatia Gallery, Rome, Italy

1967

Sursock Museum Prize

Collections

Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon
The Khalid Shoman Foundation – Darat al Funun, Amman, Jordan 
Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Jordan

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Exhibitions

JUMANA EL HUSSEINI Artwork