JEFFAR KHALDI: With You, Without Ever Seeing You

15 Oct 2008 – 1 Nov 2008

Event times

Monday - Friday 10-6pm, Saturdays 10-1pm

John Martin Gallery

London, United Kingdom


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In October the John Martin Gallery will be holding the first European exhibition of the Palestinian painter Jeffar Khaldi. The winner of the Grand Prize at the Sharjah Biennial in 1997, Khaldi is regarded as one of the most significant new painters working in the Middle East today. Combining pop imagery with political references, religious symbolism and text, the fantasy landscapes in which they are set become a constant reminder of an unattainable dream; a personal account of the longings, frustrations and anger of a displaced Arab diaspora. Khaldi was born in Lebanon in 1964 and spent 8 years amongst the chaos of the Lebanese civil war. Sent to Texas at the age of 16 to escape coercion into one of the militias, Khaldi worked his way through design school, whilst gaining notoriety as a graffiti artist whose politically charged work was swiftly whitewashed from the walls of Dallas's public buildings. After 18 years living in the US he moved to Dubai following two brutal incidents; the first a fire which razed his studio to the ground (Khaldi escaped but his work did not), then a few months later a violent robbery. Inducement enough to start anew. Since embarking on a new life in Dubai Khaldi has played an instrumental role in the City-state's nascent art scene, establishing the progressive gallery B21 in 2005 in the Al Quoz warehouse district whilst continuing his own work as a painter in an adjacent studio. With three exhibitions taking place in 2008 (B21, Dubai; Thierry Goldberg Projects, New York and John Martin Gallery, London) and work in major private and institutional collections including the Saatchi Collection and JP Morgan Chase, Khaldi is gaining a reputation as one of the region's most intelligent painters whose uncompromising approach offers a valuable commentary on the complex issues facing Middle Eastern artists today.

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