Saturday, 9 July 2016

Clea Badaro Resurfaces in United Arab Emirates Exhibition

Aphrodite by Clea Badaro.
Gulf News reports an exhibition at the Sharjah Art Museum in the United Arab Emirates which is unusual, possibly unique, in one respect.  It includes among its works paintings by Clea Badaro, the Alexandrian artist who served as a model for the character of Clea in Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet.

A 2007 photograph of the wrecked studio behind the Villa Ambron where Clea Badaro painted.
Until now, as far as I am aware, Clea Badaro has been deliberately ignored in the Middle East.  The Museum of Modern Egyptian Art in Cairo does not have a single one of her paintings.  She was born in Cairo to a Lebanese father and Greek mother and lived out her adult life in Alexandria - but on the rising wave of populist Arabism and Islamism, that cosmopolitan world has been ignored and even denied by Egyptians and Clea Badaro has ceased to exist.

But this new exhibition changes that.  The Gulf News writes:
The visual narrative continues with a selection of portraits and landscapes from different decades and different parts of the Arab world that indicate how quickly the artists moved to a more accurate depiction of their own culture and surroundings. The eclectic collection includes works that are significant in the personal journeys of the artists or in the art history of this region, such as an early portrait by Syrian artist Marwan Kassab Bachi, painted soon after he moved to Germany, and depictions of the changing urban and rural landscapes by masters such as George Sabbagh, Saliba Douaihy, Yousef Kamel and European Egyptian artist Clea Badaro.
Clea Badaro, centre, with other Alexandrian artists.