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On Thursday January 19, Ayyam Gallery Beirut will proudly present “Impulses II” the solo exhibition of Jordanian artist Hilda Hiary. This forthcoming event will showcase a new series of works that have been inspired by recent political upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa. Taking the vantage point of what she describes as a “witness of this era,” Hiary presents over a dozen new paintings in which figures become templates for raw emotion as they are suspended in non-descriptive settings that allude to both interior and exterior spaces, or private verses public realms.
Resulting from a visceral sense of expression, these recent canvases are testimonies to the artist’s own reactions to the formidable events of the past year as the Arab world has been forced to entered a new phase in its modern history. In much of Hiary’s work, these changes are captured by outlines of the female body in the form of many incarnations: as a mother, as a young woman who sneaks away to meet her lover, as a screaming prisoner, as a muffled Egyptian songstress Oum Kalthoum. Sometimes appearing as a fragmentation, these representations capture an uncertain reality in which women remain steadfast in the face of adversity. Acting as a metaphoric terrain upon which patterns and brushstrokes take on the psychic weight of an engulfing turmoil, Hiary utilizes the emotive quality of abstraction to summarize the everyday impact of these recent times.
Born in Jordan in 1969, Hilda Hiary graduated from Amman’s Al Zaytoonah University with a BA in Fine Arts in 2004. Prior to receiving her academic training, she had exhibited as a self-taught artist for nearly a decade. Since the mid 1990s, she has been featured in solo and group shows in the Middle East, Europe, the US and Asia, while contributing to symposiums, festivals, workshops and biennials. Although primarily a painter, she has also produced a number of video works and installations, several of which have been exhibited internationally. Hiary is the recipient of many awards, most notably an honorable mention from the Asian Art Biennial in Bangladesh and first prize for installation art from the Cairo International Biennial