With Self-Portrait, Abu Shakra illustrates a unique self-portrait, with an unfinished sketch of a nude woman on the back. In contrast to his portrait paintings characterized by minimal abstract forms and bold brushstrokes, Abu Shakra sketches himself in a realistic and intimate way. He portrays himself seated on a chair, slightly crouched with his arms folded in his lap as he looks away into the distance. He uses soft and delicate pencil strokes to shade and outline his facial features, jawline, and eyes, while adding rigorous charcoal strokes for the side of his head and chair. Sketched a year after he was diagnosed with cancer, the intense gaze evokes feelings of deep thoughts and solitude.
Abu Shakra had a prolific art career that was tragically cut short due to cancer at the young age of 28. During his lifetime, the artist held solo exhibitions at Umm el-Fahm Gallery and Rap Gallery in Tel Aviv (1988) and continued to work until his last day. To honour his career, retrospectives were organized by the Israel Museum in Jerusalem (1991), the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (1994) and the Golconda Fine Art Gallery in Tel Aviv (2008). In 2013, a monograph on Abu Shakra was published accompanying an exhibition at Chelouche Gallery in Tel Aviv. His works can be found in several collections including Dar El Nimer for Arts and Culture and Dalloul Art Foundation, Lebanon, and Barjeel Art Foundation, UAE.
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