Elmarsa Gallery hosts Nja Mahdaoui’s JAFR. The Alchemy of Signs exhibition

Gulf Today | By Muhammad Yusuf
Elmarsa Gallery, Dubai, is currently hosting JAFR. The Alchemy of Signs, the third solo exhibition of Tunisian artist Nja Mahdaoui’s compositions in its space (Mar. 8 – May 7). Featuring a new body of work that reveals the full breadth, imagination and scale of his oeuvre, the show unveils the artist’s most recent paintings produced between 2019 and 2021.  Born in 1937 in Tunis, Mahdaoui lives and works in Tunisia, after graduating from the Academia Santa Andrea in Rome and pursuing his academic training at the Cite International des Arts and Ecole du Louvre in Paris.  Notable for his meticulous work in ink on parchment, he has been called the Choreographer of Letters. While his work is inspired by Arabic calligraphy, he considers himself an explorer of signs.
His artistic approach is based on abstract signs and compositions — devoid of actual textual meaning — which he refers to as Calligrams or Graphemes. They appear on all manner of materials: canvas, vellum, papyrus, arches paper, silkscreen print, books, posters, designs, sculpture, aluminium, brass, melamine, drum, textile, embroidery, tapestry, ceramic, wood, jewellery, stained steel glass, architecture, fuselage of airplanes …
“My view is to freely exit the graphic structure of the Arabic letters or the verb-syntax and the structure of the style,” Mahdaoui says. “It is because I believe that the final objective is a work of art is where symbols are loaded with meaning.
April 19, 2022
of 18