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S. J. Vernoit

[Arab. Al-fann wa’l-ḥurriyya]

Egyptian group of Surrealist writers, artists and intellectuals founded on 9 January 1939 by the poet Georges Hunain (1914–73). The group included the Egyptian painters Ramsis Yunan (1914–66), Fu’ad Kamil (1919–73) and Kamil al-Talamsani (1917–72). Inspired by the work of André Breton, whom Hunain met in Paris in 1936, the aim of the group was to defend freedom in art by stressing the liberating role of the individual imagination. On 22 December 1938 Hunain and his colleagues signed a manifesto entitled ‘Vive l’Art Dégénéré’, which protested against Fascism, particularly Hitler’s claim that modern art was degenerate. The manifesto was followed by further writings, conferences and debates. Artists from the group exhibited work in June 1939 at the premises of Art and Freedom at 28 Shari‛ al-Madabigh in Cairo. In January 1940 the magazine al-Ta ṭawwur was launched, which presented ideas behind modern art to an Egyptian audience. This was followed in ...

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W. Ali

[Mudarris, Fātiḥ]

(b Aleppo, 1922; d 1999).

Syrian painter and sculptor. Initially a self-taught painter working in a realistic style, he was inspired by Surrealism in the 1940s and 1950s, and he explained his work in verse and prose to the public. After studying at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Rome (1954–60), he returned to Syria and developed a highly personal style that he described as ‘surrealistic and figurative with a strong element of abstraction’ (see Ali, 1989, p. 131). Moudarres’s work was influenced by the icons of the Eastern Orthodox Church and Syrian Classical art, which he studied in the National Museum of Damascus. His work became increasingly abstract in the 1960s, although after 1967 he expressed political themes. From 1969 to 1972 he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His paintings have an accomplished sense of composition and balance of colour. As one of the leaders of the modern art movement in Syria, Moudarres trained several generations of artists in his classes at the College of Fine Arts at the University of Damascus....