Call for papers | Conference “Searching for the light: The life and work of Mahmoud Saïd, pioneer of Egyptian and Arab Modernism”, Rome, 6th-7th March 2024 — LIMITE : 29/12/2023

Conference: Searching for the light. The life and work of Mahmoud Saïd,
pioneer of Egyptian and Arab Modernism 

Accademia d’Egitto a Roma and Sapienza Università di Roma, 

Rome, 6th-7th March 2024 

Mahmoud Saïd (1987-1964) is one of the best-known and most celebrated Arab artists of the early 20th century. He is regarded as the father of Egyptian Modernism and more broadly as a pioneer of Modern Art in the Arab world. Although his paintings sell for large sums of money and there is undoubtedly a lot of interest in his artistic practice, he is still relatively under-studied and under-exhibited today. Many efforts have been made to summarise his extensive production and to understand his personal life in two important catalogues raisonné, published respectively in 1999 (only in Arabic) and in 2017, but only a few articles have been included in later publications. Likewise, a few exhibitions were organised in the last decades, mainly in Egypt, and only one painting, ‘La Femme aux boucles d’or’ (1933), was included in the large-scale traveling exhibition on Egyptian Surrealism a few years ago.

Central to the conference is the desire to investigate the main themes of Saïd’s artistic practice and to expose his life and work to a wider audience of academics, students and art professionals. Aim of the conference is to update the scholarship on his artistic practice and add new details to his personal life experience and to his relationships with friends and fellow artists, art dealers and curators, journalists and writers. An interesting aspect about which very little is known, but which this conference would like to address, is that relating to his exhibitions, organised not only in Egypt, but also abroad.

Abstracts are welcomed on topics related, but not limited, to:

  • specific aspects of Saïd’s biography and his artistic practice;
  • the role played by Saïd in the establishment and development of avant-garde groups, both in Egypt and the MENA region;
  • his personal and artistic relationship with fellow artists from Egypt and the Arab World and possibly the West;
  • Saïd’s exhibitions (solo and collective) in Cairo and Alexandria;
  • Saïd’s exhibitions in New York City, Paris, Montevideo;
  • Saïd’s presence at the Art Biennale in Venice in four different occasions;
  • the crucial role played by women in his oeuvre;
  • the religious themes, especially related to Sufism;
  • the perception of Saïd and his oeuvre in newspapers and magazines since the early 20th century in Egypt, the Arab world and the West;
  • the artistic legacy on artists of later generations in Egypt, the MENA region and beyond;
  • the reasons why Mahmoud Saïd is still considered one of the most important artists in the Arab World but his work is rarely displayed in international exhibitions

Abstracts should not exceed 250 words and should include the paper’s title. The official language of the conference is English, but abstracts in Italian, French and Arabic are also welcomed. Please, submit your application with a one-page CV to the organisers (contact details below) by 29th December 2023.  

Speakers will be divided into panels and given 20 minutes to present their papers with 10 minute Q&A. Panels already organized will also be taken into consideration. Papers presented at the conference will be published in the proceedings.

Organisers have been awarded the 2023 Encounter Grant, generously offered by Gingko, London. The Encounter Grant has been fractioned into bursaries, which will be given to selected speakers who wish to attend the conference and require some financial support. Please, indicate in your application, if you would like to be considered for the bursaries. Bursaries will be awarded on a competitive basis based on the content of applications. 

The conference will be free to attend for the general public. 

Contact details of the organisers. Please, send your applications and any inquiries to one of the following email addresses:

Giuseppe Cecere – giuseppe.cecere3[at]unibo.it
Michelina Di Cesare – michelina.dicesare[at]uniroma1.it
Roberta Marin – rm1174[at]york.ac.uk

More information : here



Citer ce billet
Chargé de diffusion scientifique (2023, 15 décembre). Call for papers | Conference “Searching for the light: The life and work of Mahmoud Saïd, pioneer of Egyptian and Arab Modernism”, Rome, 6th-7th March 2024 — LIMITE : 29/12/2023. IISMM. Consulté le 16 avril 2024, à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/q39q

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