Paris: The mysterious Fatima Haddad – better known as the artist Baya – became famous when she was only 16 years old. She was elevated to icon status by the post-war generation of French intellectuals. More than 20 years after her death in 1998, she is still revered by critics and collectors.
A new exhibition at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, with works donated by Claude and France Lemand, presents a selection of his drawings, paintings and sculptures in a comprehensive homage to Baia’s career spanning more than five decades. Many of the antiques on display in “Baia: Women in Their Garden,” which runs through March 2023, come from an archive left by the artist’s adoptive mother, Margaret Caminat.
Baya at an exhibition of Algerian artists, September 1998 (AO Mohand-min)
Kaminas was the first and largest supporter of the exceptional artistic talent of Baia, which was noticed by the Parisian artist Aimee Maicht during his trip to Algiers. Maicht invited the 16-year-old to contribute to a major exhibition in Paris in November 1947, where her work astounded art lovers in the French capital, including André Breton, who wrote: “I do not speak like many others to regret the end. , but to strengthen the start. The beginning of the era of liberation and harmony, in a radical rupture … From this beginning Paya became queen.
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“Baia was a talented and hardworking artist,” Claude Lemand, one of the curators, told Arab News. “It emphasized her character, identity, independence, and decision (to be an artist) very young, but without offending others.”
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