Nja Mahdaoui (Tunisia, 1937)
Untitled, ca. 2000
silkscreen on paper
27.6 x 19.7 in. (70 x 50 cm.)
Edition of 99
ID: NJA1099-001-099
Hand-signed by author

$ 850

1 in stock

Nja Mahdaoui, born in 1937 in Tunis, is a prominent figure in Tunisia’s art scene, currently residing and working in his home country. His artistic journey began with formal education, culminating in his graduation from the Academy of Arts of Santa Andrea in Rome and the Ecole du Louvre, specializing in Oriental Antiquities. Furthering his studies, he spent time in Paris at the Cite Internationale des Arts, courtesy of a scholarship from the Tunisian Government.

Renowned as one of Tunisia’s foremost artists and a significant figure in contemporary Arab art, Nja Mahdaoui identifies himself as a ‘signs explorer.’ His work, often described as a ‘choreography of letters,’ draws inspiration from Arabic calligraphy, showcasing remarkable innovation. Through the aesthetic manipulation of letters, Mahdaoui creates highly rhythmic and poetically charged abstract compositions. His meticulous ink work on parchment, known for its visual impact, transcends textual meaning, a style he refers to as ‘calligrams’ or ‘graphemes.’

Mahdaoui’s creative expression extends across a variety of mediums and materials, including canvas, vellum, papyrus, and sculpture, among others. His versatility is evident in monumental artworks such as windows murals for prominent establishments like Facebook’s Menlo Park Headquarters, the ALECSO headquarters in Tunis, and the KAUST University Campus Mosque in Saudi Arabia, to name a few.

Internationally acclaimed, Mahdaoui has served as a jury member and honored guest at prestigious events and biennales, including the Sharjah International Arabic Calligraphy Biennial and The International Arts Biennial of Tehran. He also held a position on the International Jury of the Arts Prize of UNESCO from 1993 to 1995. His contributions to the arts have been recognized with numerous awards, including the ‘Great Prize for Arts and Letters’ from the Tunisian Ministry of Culture in 2006 and the UNESCO Great Prize for Artcrafts in the Arab World in 2005.

In addition to his artistic endeavors, Mahdaoui has engaged in collaborative projects, including performances and exhibitions worldwide. He has shared his insights through lectures and seminars at various universities, including the American University of Sharjah, the American University of Dubai, California State University Northridge, and UCLA University of California, Los Angeles.

Mahdaoui’s works have been exhibited globally, featured in renowned institutions such as the British Museum, the Smithsonian Museum, and the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) in Paris, among others. They have also been showcased in international art fairs spanning GCC, Asia, America, Africa, and Europe, making a significant impact in both private and public collections worldwide.