Nja Mahdaoui
b. 1937
Tunis, Tunisia

While taking courses in art history and painting in Carthage, Mahdaoui met the director of the local Italian cultural center who became an avid patron. After a solo exhibition in Palermo, Sicily, Mahdaoui attended painting and philosophy classes at Santa Andrea Academy in Rome. He has conducted many research trips throughout Europe, the Middle East and North Africa and has exhibited widely in Europe and the Middle East.

Ink on paper
51 x 41.2 cm (20 1/16 x 16 1/4 in.)
96-20-12, purchased with funds provided by the Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program
(on view May-August 2001)

Mahdaoui regards text as an intricate part of the composition, being careful to balance its use as both language and visual form. In so doing, he creates a rhythmic, even melodic, flow to these works, wherein the attention to line required in calligraphic work unites the forms and colors.