Nejib Belkhodja was born in Tunis, Tunisia, in 1933, to a family of diverse origin: his father was from the Tunisian bourgeoisie of Turkish descent, while his mother was a Dutch singer at the Paris Opera. The artist's richness origins and his upbringing within the walls of the old Medina of Tunis forged his knowledge and cultural background. Belkhodja studied at the School of Fine Arts in Tunis and had his first exhibition at the age of 23.
In his works, Belkhodja combines the architectural features of the Medina with calligraphy to create a unique style, easily recognizable, where the city is reinvented through an abstract approach. By using the simple lines of Arabic letters to render the city walls and arcades, in abstract expression, Belkhodja succeeded to anchor his oeuvre in a universal expression entrenched in its cultural roots and positioned against the standardization of art. Belkhodja was awarded the Tunis Municipal Prize at the Salon International in 1956. In the 60s, he traveled to Europe and participated in several exhibitions and earned many awards, such as the gold medal in Milan in 1964 and the National Award for Painting in Paris in 1968.
The artist passed away in 2007. After his death, the Tunisian Federation of Fine Arts created the "Nejib Belkhodja Prize of Plastic Arts" to honor the deceased artist.
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