Arab artist Kamal Boullata was born in Occupied Jerusalem in 1942, but has lived in exile in America and Europe since he was 18. Despite his Western art education, he has kept in touch with his roots by doing extensive research on Islamic and Modern Arab art, and has written several essays and books on Islamic, Byzantine and Palestinian art. His latest body of work, Bilqis, named after the queen of Sheba, seamlessly combines Western and Islamic abstraction. The series, comprising five triptychs is inspired by the Quranic legend of the queen’s visit to the court of King Solomon, where she mistook the glass floor for a sheet of water and lifted up her skirt to avoid getting it wet. The paintings are essentially about recreating the transparency and spatial ambiguity in visual perception that the queen had experienced.
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