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 Nja Mahdaoui  (1937 - )

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Lived/Active: Tunisia      Known for: symbolic Tunisian culture painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Lives and works in Tunisia
Nja MAHDAOUI was born in Tunis in 1937
He is a visual artist, an explorer of signs
Graduate of the Academy of Arts of Santa Andrea in Rome & of the Ecole du Louvre, Department of Oriental Antiquities.
He has received a number of distinctions and national and international prizes, such as the “Grand Prix des Arts et des Lettres Tunisia”.

•   He takes part in group artistic exhibitions: Biennial exhibitions, museums and galleries
•   Organizes exhibitions of individual and group work
•   Takes part regularly in seminars and colloquia at universities in Tunisia and abroad
•   Has organized performances of “Total Art“: interactive communication between Arab and European artists, and artists from North America and Asia on the theme “Language and register in exchanges in the visual arts“; theatre and dance on the theme “Body-Writing“
These have taken place in Tunisia, France, Italy, Denmark, Japan, Cuba, Canada, Germany and Jordan.
• He is cited in:
-    The WHO’S WHO in Graphic Design (Zurich)
-    Men of Achievement IBC Cambridge
-    The BENEZIT (Dictionary of painters, sculptors, designers and engravers of E. Benezit)

• Nja Mahdaoui is a member of the International Jury of the Arts Prize of UNESCO
• He has participated in the monumental decoration of the International Airports of Jeddah and Riyadh, and the ARAMCO head office at Dahran, Saudi Arabia
• He won the international competition for the external design of 4 aircrafts for the Gulf Air 50th Anniversary, the national airline of Bahrain, Oman and the UAE
• He was awarded the First Prize in the Calligraph-art category, at the 5th International Calligraphy & Calligraph-art Exhibition 2007 in Kabul, Pakistan
• He has been Guest of honour and Jury member of:
- The Sharjah International Arabic Calligraphy Biennial - UAE – 2006
- The International Arts Biennial of Tehran - Iran - 2006
• He was invited as guest of honor to the
-  “Francophone Week” organized by Admaf at the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research and the Ghaf Gallery in Abu Dhabi in March 2008
-  5th Classical Music Festival organized by Admaf at the Emirates palace / Abu Dhabi in March 2008
• His artworks were presented by El Marsa Gallery in International Art Fairs as Art Paris - Abu Dhabi, Art Dubai, Art Paris - Paris, Abu Dhabi Art…


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Nja Mahdaoui's work is based on the shapes associated with the various cursive and Kufic Arabic scripts, but he is more interested in movement, the rhythms and the visual effects of the act of writing and the expressive potential of the morphology of letters, than the content itself.  Sometimes described as a "choreographer of letters", for him "words restrict the meaning" (Rose Issa cited in Rochan Gallery, Jeddah Nja Mahdaoui exhibition catalogue, 1994).

In most of his work, Mahdaoui remains strongly influenced by Tunisian cultural traditions, such as textile arts, but manages to harmonize traditional calligraphic styles with contemporary abstract art.
Christie's Auction House

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