View full screen - View 1 of Lot 29. LAILA SHAWA | THE SOUK IN GAZA.
29

LAILA SHAWA | THE SOUK IN GAZA

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Estimate:

10,000

to
- 15,000 GBP

LAILA SHAWA | THE SOUK IN GAZA

LAILA SHAWA | THE SOUK IN GAZA

Estimate:

10,000

to
- 15,000 GBP

Lot sold:

12,600

GBP

LAILA SHAWA

b. 1940

Palestinian

THE SOUK IN GAZA


oil on canvas laid on board

48.5 by 70.5cm. 19 by 27½in.

framed: 58 by 80cm. 22¾ by 31½in.

Executed in 1965. 


This work is accompanied with certificate of authenticity signed by the Artist.  


Please note: Condition 11 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is not applicable to this lot.


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This work is in very good condition. No signs of restoration under the UV light.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.

Collection of the Artist, Beirut 

Rashad Al Shawa collection, Gaza

Acquired directly from the above by the present owner

Gaza, Marna House Gallery, Contrast and Contradictions, 1965

This beautiful canvas by internationally acclaimed artist, Laila Shawa is of considerable historical significance within her artistic oeuvre. ‘The Souk’ was part of Shawa’s first solo exhibition in Gaza in 1965 entitled ‘Contrast and Contradictions’ – one year after her graduation from the Academy of Fine Art in Rome. Thereafter, it was to become part of the collection of Rashad Shawa, the Mayor of Gaza and also the artist’s father. It remained there, in Gaza, until the house was destroyed but was salvaged and relocated to Bethlehem.


Shawa is known for her bold colour palette, her illustrative renderings and the integral story telling of her work. Her paintings speak of political strife and in particular bring to the fore, the fate of children, families and in particular, women in Gaza. This early canvas marks the beginning of her mastery and application of bold colour, albeit, with a more subdued hand. This lends itself to the wistful quality that we perhaps don’t feel as evidently in her later works, which have gone through a noticeable evolution.


While her later works are stylistically laced with greater irony or humour and speak more directly to political realities and perceived injustices, Shawa’s early paintings are gentle, almost folkloric renderings that depict everyday local scenes. Within the context of her oeuvre, these become particularly nostalgic and poignant – a remembrance of better times or a hopeful longing for what could have been a very different way of living.


Shawa’s artistic range and ability is indeed broad: her mastery of paint and colour did not preclude an ability to capture narratives through photography and silk screening. Her pioneering work in these mediums have without question, helped to shape contemporary Palestinian art. It is, however, in her evolution as an artist that has enabled Shawa to take her place as a leading globally recognized artist. Moving from the ‘accepted’ medium of paint to alternative mediums to express her evolving style with bolder political messaging (as a female Arab artist no less) speaks to a brave fearless spirit. It is also important to highlight that Shawa is profoundly aware of the roles of women in Arab societies – living through the Intifadas, she saw the pivotal position women played in the movement in their multifaceted identities as mothers and workers but also active revolutionaries. In this sense her oeuvre is a reflection of the resilient Palestinian identity.


“Laila Shawa was one of the first Arab artists to successfully break through barriers in the West.” - Lawrence Joffe quoting Dr Venetia Porter, ‘Laila Shawa: still shaking people up’, The Middle East, February 2002, online


This painting is a rare work by the artist from the beginning of what was to become a significant globally recognised artistic career.