Wednesday, August 22, 2007

M'Hamed Issiakhem (1928-1985)

Resurrection du Chahid-1978

Algerian painter M'Hamed Issiakhem was born in Douar Djennad, near Azzefoun, in 1928; died in Algiers, on 1st december 1985). Wounded by a home-made bomb in 1943, his left arm was amputated and he was hospitalized for two years. From 1947 to 1951 he studied first at the Société des Beaux-Arts and then at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Algiers, while simultaneously training in miniature painting with Omar Racim. In 1953, he continued his studies at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he worked in the painting atelier of Raymond Legueult (1898–1978), graduating in 1958. While in Paris, Issiakhem witnessed the development of abstract Expressionism and other artistic styles, which he quickly adopted. A pioneer of modern algerian art, he was one of the founders of the algerian National Union of Plastic Arts in 1963 and held exhibitions in Algeria and abroad. Attracted by left-wing ideas, he travelled to Vietnam in 1972 and Moscow in 1978. In his work, male figures are surrounded by forms, signs and blotches in sombre colours, while his female figures express drama and silent suffering (e.g. hommage to Katia ; 1984; oil on canvas; Paris, Institut du Monde Arabe).

M'Hamed Isiakhem is a very famous Algerian artist; he was born in June 17, 1928. As he was a little kid , during World War II, he saw the allied forces invading the country, as Algeria was a French colony at that time. His curiosity led him to run after one American military truck and jump inside of it to steel something that he wanted to play with. He was happy with his new toy and went away balancing it from one hand to another until suddenly a big explosion blasted his left hand away. He then realized that he just lost most part of his left hand and the toy was in fact a grenade. That was the shock of his life, which reflected on most of his work. A signature of a hand and a touch of sorrow, characterize most of his marvels. That is why his style went more into a tragic abstracted expressionism, which is now the tendency of many of his followers in the land of unique artists, our mother Algeria.

He died in December 1, 1985 from cancer but his art will live to eternity. Just before he died he said his famous words:" A country without artists is a dead land; a society is forever in a vital need for creative artists".

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