Samia Halabi

The Dongola Book

Acrylic on paper
30 x 23 cm (closed); 137 x 23 cm (open); leporello

Artist’s Statement

[Excerpt from an email exchange with the artist]

My normal habit is to have scattered papers on surfaces and floor and work on as many as ten drawings and five paintings at once. It is unpredictable when any one of them is complete. Sometimes they all go badly and I feel frustrated.

The book for Dongola was one of the rare exceptions when in less than fifteen minutes I completed a whole project with an enthusiastic flourish of brushes and color. But it does not mean that such a result happens every time. Nor are the fifteen minutes isolated from several sessions of mental preparation in the form of painting. Thus, I created a visual record of the process of my work.


Samia Halaby (b. 1936, Jerusalem), is a writer and painter. The port city of Yafa have colored her life and her painting. While painting she searches her intuitions for a sense of space and light and color and finds deep impressions of Yafa raising her to aesthetic enthusiasm. A large retrospective of her work will open at the Sharjah Museum in 2023 and her work will be included in the Taipei Biennial. In 2024, a retrospective will open at the Eskenazi Museum at Indiana University, one of her paintings will be part of the Venice Beinnial’s core exhibition, and another retrospective will open at the Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University.

Samia Halabi – The Dongola Book

Quarantined in New York; For Cities Under Quarantined

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