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Article

Tunisian, 20th century, male.

Born 26 May 1921, in Tunis.

Painter, miniaturist. Genre scenes, local scenes, figures. Wall decorations, stage sets, designs for stained glass.

Jélal Ben Abdallah was a student at the school of fine art in Tunis. Initially he was a miniaturist, having studied traditional Islamic art and developed an oriental style, often defined as Tunisian. He portrays the traditions and ceremonies of Tunisian life in a make-up inspired by the ancient miniatures, using a range of warm ochres and soft browns. He also proved himself to be capable of adapting the images from these miniatures to a much larger format, that of murals, especially popular in the banks of Tunisia. His pleasant illustrations of Tunisian traditions are very popular with the public. As well as a certain ease of style and subject-matter, he can also achieve a certain poetic vein in his work....

Article

Joanna Grabski

(b St Louis, February 6, 1953).

Senegalese glass painter, potter and teacher. She earned an MA in literature at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar (1980), then graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure d'Education Artistique (1983). Her early work in both literature and fine arts dealt with the social role of women in colonial Senegal. In the 1980s and 1990s, she worked primarily with glass painting or sous verre, a medium with a long history in Senegal. Her work advances well-known conventional glass paintings that depict colorful quotidian and religious scenes. She works with a palette of intense hues, applying them across the glass support so as to maximize the expressive potential of the medium. Although she created figural works in the 1980s, her work in the 1990s became increasingly abstract. Her glass paintings, such as Nature (1998; priv. col.), are characterized by their luminescence and large scale. In addition to exhibiting her work in Africa and Europe, she has been involved in a number of educational and humanitarian projects. Her achievements have been recognized by two prestigious awards from the government of Senegal, including the Chevalièr de l’Ordre du Mérite (...

Article

El Hadji Sy

(b Bambey Departement, 1926).

Senegalese painter. He began painting on paper with pigments obtained from plants, but in his 20s he discovered glass painting in Kaolack and has since developed that medium. After working with Gora Mbengue, he began to use pen and India ink to create drawings that he later traced to glass. In the late 1980s he and Mbengue collaborated on a series of paintings dealing with the slave trade. Like many other glass painters, he produced images of daily life, portraits—especially of women—and religious scenes of Mouridism, an Islamic religious brotherhood. Amadou Bamba’s Imprisonment in Dakar (1993; Tervuren, Kon. Mus. Mid.-Afrika) depicts the emergence of Cheikh Amadu Bamba (1850–1927), the founder of the Mourides, from his prison cell. Unusually, Gueye produces pieces in both full colour and in black and white. In 1994 he was working in Dakar, where he and several apprentices produced images from a repertoire of over 300 designs....

Article

El Hadji Sy

(b Tivaouane, 1953).

Senegalese painter and teacher. He graduated in 1976 from the Institut National des Arts du Senegal, where he trained as an art educator. After building a collection of glass paintings, he began to explore this medium as a support for his art. He carefully studied the techniques of glass-painting masters, advancing the conventional subjects associated with the medium. Rather than representing traditional narrative and religious scenes, his paintings depict both human figures and organic forms resembling flora. The glass painting Aristot (1992, Dakar, Serigne Babacar Sy priv. col.) suggests his emphasis on the graphic potential of both line and colour. Closer examination reveals his use of tiny dots and thin lines to animate the composition. Ndiaye has exhibited in Senegal, Europe and the USA, and Senegalese television produced a short film about his work in the early 1990s. In addition to working in Switzerland and France, he has taught art in Dakar and St Louis, Senegal....

Article

Gordon Campbell

(b Trendelburg, May 12, 1920).

German glass painter. After military service and imprisonment by the British in Egypt, he trained in Stuttgart as a glass painter and mosaicist. Thereafter he specialized in architectural stained glass. His glass, which is usually figurative and narratorial, has been installed in more than 100 churches around the world and in secular buildings (e.g. the library extension of Pembroke College, Cambridge, ...