20th Century Art / Middle East

20th Century Art / Middle East

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 23. ASIM ABU SHAKRA | CACTUS.


Lot Closed

March 31, 01:22 PM GMT


35,000 - 45,000 GBP

Lot Details



1961 - 1990



oil stick on cardboard, in four parts

each: 15 by 15 cm.; 5⅞ by 5⅞ in.

Executed in 1986. 

Please note that consumer cancellation rights do not apply to this lot.

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Collection of the artist, Umm al-Fahm

Estate of the artist (thence by descent), Umm al-Fahm

Acquired from the above by the present owner 

Tal Ben-Zvi, Kamal Boullata, W.J.T. Mitchell, Anton Shammas, Nira Itzhaki, Asim Abu Shaqra, Milan 2013, pp. 167-168, illustrated / in colour 

"The cactus in Abu-Shakra's works has numerous meanings and connotations. Sources for this subject are found in European iconography, Israeli Zionist imagery and the Crucifixion in Christianity. The artist returned to this motif again and again gradually transforming it into a symbol of personal identification. Abu Shakra tragically lost his life to cancer at the early age of twenty-nine...[and] this work reflects his realization of his own immortality. Tali Tamir discusses the works from this period and notes: 'In his last paintings, as the disease progressed and he faced his imminent death, the exterior background slowly disappeared and the potted cactus became a sublimated expression of severe loneliness: detached from everything, turned entirely in on itself, mindful only of the limited beauty it could still produce'."

Tali Tamir cited in: "The Shadow of Foreignness: On the Paintings of Asim Abu-Shakra" in Exh. Cat., Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Asim Abu-Shakra, 1994, p. 87