79
79
Asim Abu Shakra
PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI
SELF-PORTRAIT; UNTITLED
Estimate
22,00028,000
LOT SOLD. 27,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
79
Asim Abu Shakra
PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI
SELF-PORTRAIT; UNTITLED
Estimate
22,00028,000
LOT SOLD. 27,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

20th Century Art / Middle East

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London

Asim Abu Shakra
1961 - 1990
PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI
SELF-PORTRAIT; UNTITLED
pencil and charcoal on paper, double-sided
100 by 70cm.; 39 1/3 by 27 1/2 in.
Executed circa 1988. 
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Provenance

Estate of the artist, Umm al-Fahm
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2017

Catalogue Note

Asim Abu Shakra was an outstanding artist who in his short-lived life left a significant mark on Palestinian art history. He was born in Umm el-Fahm, a village in northern Israel. He started painting from a young age and became determined to pursue his career in the arts. Upon graduating from high school, he left his hometown to study at the Kalisher Art Academy in Tel Aviv, where he developed his expressive visual language that distinguished his career. In his art practice, Abu Shakra expressed themes of identity, home and belonging, which is most notable in his renowned cactus series. The cactus plant is an iconic symbol for the steadfastness and uproot of Palestinians, yet Abu Shakra painted the plant domesticated and estranged from its natural environment.

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.

20th Century Art / Middle East

|
London