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Samia Halaby

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20120728203914-709_trees_and_the_high_rising_city
Trees and The High Rising City, 2011 Acrylic on Canvas © Samia Halaby
20120728205147-705_three_squares_pyramid_2011_153_x_254_cm
Three Squares Pyramid, 2011 Acrylic on Canvas © Samia Halaby
20120728210006-704_movements_and_interupctions_2010_153_x_254_cm
Movements and Interruptions, 2011 Acrylic on Canvas © Samia Halaby
20120728210533-707_pedestrians_and_the_high_rising_city_2011_180_x_180_cm
Pedestrians and The High Rise City, 2011 Acrylic on Canvas © Samia Halaby
20120728211402-tribeca_collage_3
Tribeca 3, 2012 Digital Photograph © Samia Halaby
20120728211515-tribeca_3345
Tribeca 3345, 2012 Digital Photograph © Samia Halaby
20120728211723-tribeca_3326
Tribeca 3326, 2012 Digital Photograph © Samia Halaby
20140215035025-blue_trap_in_a_railroad_station_4
Blue Trap in a Railroad Station, 1978 Oil on Canvas © Courtesy of the artist & The Ayyam Gallery
Quick Facts
Birthplace
Jerusalem
Birth year
1936
Representing galleries
Biography

Born in Jerusalem in 1936, Samia Halaby is a leading Palestinian painter and scholar. After immigrating to the US via Lebanon in 1951, she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Design from the University of Cincinnati in 1959 and a Master of Fine Arts from Indiana University in 1963. Shortly after, she began an extensive career in teaching art at the university level throughout the US, which culminated in a decade long position as the first fulltime female associate professor at the world-renowned Yale School of Art in New Haven, Connecticut. Although based in New York, Halaby has also worked in the Arab world, teaching at such institutions as Birzeit University in the West Bank and Darat al-Funun in Amman, Jordan.

Since 1970, she has held countless solo exhibitions, both in the US and abroad and has been featured in a number of groundbreaking group exhibitions of Arab art throughout the US and Europe. With recent blockbuster sales of her paintings at auction, she has become increasingly sought after by collectors.

Although her exceptional painting style has changed dramatically over the years—from large canvases exploring the color planes of geometric and helix formations to colorist assemblages that speak of movement and nature—she has continued to push the boundaries of art for over fifty years. As such, she is recognized as a major innovator of the school of abstraction in contemporary Arab art. Halaby’s vivid canvases have been hailed by a number of international publications including The New York Times and Art in America. Forever on the cutting-edge of art, in 1983, she created a computer program for kinetic paintings, resulting in several audio-visual presentations, including a tour of Syria, Palestine and Jordan and a performance accompanied by live musicians at New York’s Lincoln Center (1998).

Halaby’s work is housed in several museum collections worldwide, most notably the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, The British Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, and The Detroit Institute of Art. As an art historian, she has been instrumental in curating several exhibitions in the US. In 2002 her many years of scholarship led to the publishing of Liberation Art of Palestine, one of the few English-language books on contemporary Palestinian art available today.