Jassim Zaini: Representation and Abstraction

Past Exhibition

This exhibition explores the artistic vision of Jassim Zaini (1943-2012 Doha), and examines two formal creative directions adopted by the artist between 1967 and 2012.

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The first section presents Zaini’s representational work, which he refers to as ‘advanced realism’, and interprets the changing reality in his local environment by highlighting social and familial relationships, cultural heritage, and the process of modernisation. His experiments in abstraction reveal a unique conceptual language in which Zaini captures ideas, objects and moments in time that intrigue him.

Zaini’s work is a reflection of a significant era in the history of Qatar as his art captures the changes brought about by the exploitation of oil and the formation of a nation state from the 1950s to the 1970s. This period witnessed the rapid social, cultural and economic transformation of life, which Zaini attempts to document and respond to in images evoking inspirational details from the past and present of a developing country at emotional junctures.

Curator, Fatma Mostafawi

About the Artist

Born in 1943 in Doha, Jassim Zaini is considered one of the most important founders of modern Qatari art due to his early involvement in establishing an art scene in Doha and his continued encouragement and support for the pioneering generation of modern Qatari artists. Jassim Zaini first encountered art at a young age as he watched his father, a traditional craftsman, working. Zaini went on to become the first Qatari to achieve a fine arts degree, after studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad from 1964 to 1968 where he was taught by influential Iraqi artists, such as Faiq Hassan, Hafidh al-Droubi, Ismail Al-Shaikhly, and Atta Sabri.  During his career, Zaini participated in various local exhibitions and regional biennales including the second Arab Biennial in Rabat in 1976, the Cairo Biennial in 1984 and 1986; the Bangladesh Biennale in 1986; and the Ankara International Biennale in 1986 and 1988.