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Libyan artists revel in new sense of freedom

Yousef Fetis’s Anguish.

Yousef Fetis’s Anguish.

A piece by Najla Shawkat Fitouri.A piece by Najla Shawkat Fitouri.

Under Gaddafi, Libyan artists were unable to make political statements through their art but they have now started touring the world with their post-revolutionary work, revelling in their new-found freedom of expression.

Two of their exhibitions have arrived in Malta.

One of them, at St James Cavalier for Creativity in Valletta, is called A Libyan Lamma, displaying work by six Libyan artists in the form of paintings, sculptures, installation art and photography. The context is post-revolutionary Libya.

“Before the revolution there was a lot of control and self-censorship of art. Only a small number of artists were able to show their work,” said Samira Jamil, assistant director of the exhibition.

“However, from the early days of the revolution, people felt a new sense of freedom to express themselves through the arts. As a Libyan who grew up in Malta, it has always been my dream to showcase the creative side of Libya.”

Before the revolution there was a lot of control and self-censorship

The artists taking part in Lamma – which in the local Arabic dialect means a social gathering – are Matug Aborawi, Yousef Fetis, Mohammad Bin Lamin, Hadia Gana, Naziha Arebi and Arwa Abouon

Bin Lamin’s sculptures are made from recycled war materials like metal bullets while Aborawai sketches immigrants on their way to Europe and Arebi shows photographs of the private celebrations of Libyan women.

Supported by Medavia and Mediterranean Investment Holdings, A Libyan Lamma will be on show at the St James from Thursday until February 16.

The display is being organised by Noon Arts, which aims to nurture established and emerging Libyan artists.

Another exhibition by Noon Arts, which will be held at the Corinthia St George in St Julian’s between today and January 20, will display works by Najla Shawkat Fitouri about women’s issues and their role in Libya’s social and cultural fabric.

Fitouri’s paintings show the evolving female identity and reflect her personal concerns. Her work has also been exhibited in Switzerland, France, UK, USA, and Iraq.

More information at www.noon-arts.co.uk

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