Abdulrahman Al Zayani is a leading collector of contemporary Middle Eastern art based between Bahrain and London. The collector is selling more than 80 pieces from his private collection at Sotheby’s auction, the auction house said in a press release.
Twelve pieces from the collection were auctioned at Sotheby’s Dubai at the Dubai International Financial Center until March 3rd. The entire collection will go on sale at Sotheby’s auction London on 25 April.
The paintings, drawings, sculptures, and multimedia works to be auctioned come from artists from across the region, including Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, North Africa, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the UAE. The exhibits range in style from figurative to abstract and experimental. The famous collector has been building a collection for the past 20 years.
“One-man collections of contemporary Middle Eastern art are very rare,” Alexandra Roy, head of sales for contemporary Middle Eastern art at Sotheby’s auction, told the National. “Al Zayani is buying across the board. You get Egyptian, Turkish, Moroccan, and Iranian artists. You get modern masters and modern works.”
One of the strongest museum pieces in the collection is the work of the late Egyptian artist Ghazbiya Sirri, one of the most influential artists of her generation, known for her early work on images and stories of women.
Sirry’s The Garden, painted in 1959, is a theatrical production in which stylized female figures are drawn in geometric spaces. In this work, Sirry, who died in 2021, enchantingly explores the different stages of a woman’s life through vibrant colors.
Another artist who definitely deserves special attention is Turkish painter Fahrelnissa Zeid. Zeid has been a pioneering force in the art scene in Jordan and the rest of the Middle East due to her approach, execution, and quality of her work. She was also an educator, founding the Fahrelnisa Zeid Royal National Jordanian Fine Arts Institute in Amman, Jordan, in 1976.
In 1958, many of Zeid’s relatives were killed in Iraq after the 1958 coup that toppled the monarchy, a traumatic and transformative moment for her. The abstract painting, which showcases Zeid’s mastery of color and form, is a reference to how she overcomes this grief by revisiting earlier ideas of abstraction in her work.
Among the more recent pieces in the Al Zayani collection is a 2010 painting by Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj called Miriam Green.
Hajjaj, whose aesthetic is heavily influenced by London’s hip-hop and reggae scenes as well as his North African heritage, is known for his striking portraits of eccentric and smartly dressed people posing against bold patterned backdrops.
In a nutshell, the collection that will be auctioned off at Sotheby’s auction in April can give an idea of how someone can start collecting work and how different pieces from different mediums and styles can work together.