For more than five decades, Chucrallah Fattouh has been painting. With well over 150 exhibitions at venues in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and both North and South America to his credit, this artist is experiencing a new impetus that is propelling his art forward.
Momentum captures the many facets of this new phase in the evolution of the art of Chucrallah Fattouh. The work is manifested in two very different domains – the harbour and women – domains which have in common a sheltering nature.
Women, as symbolised in the architecture of their clothes and character, is a continuing theme for the artist, as is the sea. Abstract ships are for the first time sailing on the floating spaces on his canvases. It’s something of a new adventure as Chucrallah Fattouh sets sail on the uncharted seas of his imagination. His journey has roots in thousands of years of history.
In the beginning…
“Byblos, the place where I was born, reflects the past and bears the stories of ancient civilisations that once graced and commanded the shores of the Mediterranean. As a child, I heard these stories and felt them slip into my consciousness as imagery. My eyes were drawn to the horizon where the blue of the sky meets the blue of the sea along a white line that in my imagination was a realm of mysterious, ever-changing shapes.” Chucrallah Fattouh.
With traces of civilisation dating from 8,800 BC, the city of Byblos in Lebanon is believed to be perhaps the World’s oldest continuously inhabited city. For this reason and because of the sophisticated culture of the civilisations it hosted while maintaining its own distinctive identity, Byblos has been accorded UNESCO World Heritage status.
Not far from Byblos is the seaside town of Al Monsif where, in the early 1960s, a little boy would watch the waves, the sky, the clouds – and dream in colours. Eventually, that boy painted the scenes he saw but was not satisfied, as he discovered that his paintings were not different from those produced by others.
That little boy was determined to travel down his own road. This was the beginning of what would be a Post-Cubist journey into Abstract Expressionism. A stop along the way was in New York where the young artist had a flash revelation while watching “Phantom of the Opera – you can tell the truth only on stage”. For Chucrallah Fattouh, this meant that the canvas would be a stage “on which, many varied and strange colours give voice to the truth in my vision”.
It is not only the colours and forms of nature which influence the work of this artist – it is also his ingrained sense of identity from growing up in a land of immense antiquity and cultural richness. The mythological origins of Byblos are attributed to the divinely descended Cronus, who was the father of Zeus as well as Athena and gave the world the gift of the phonetic alphabet.
As the capital of Phoenicia, Byblos controlled the shipping routes of the Mediterranean and was famed for exporting the beautiful deep purple dye that became the insignia of royalty. In time, Phoenicia fell to Cyrus the Great of Persia, then to the Hellenistic Greeks, followed by the Romans – and thus the famous civilisations of the ancient world left a mark on Byblos.
It was his awareness of the rich cultural history of his land that led Chucrallah Fattouh to turn his studio into an art gallery designed to facilitate intercultural connections. He speaks of the Gallery as ‘a garden of colours’ in the exchange of ideas: “You must build bridges or you will be alone in the shadows.” An exhibition by Fattouh on the theme of bridging East and West through polo won him a medal from Queen Elizabeth II.
- 1985 -1988: Galerie Chahine
- 1986: Galerie Tabbal, Beirut
- 1987: Galerie Portfolio, Kaslik
- 1988: Galerie Bekhazi, Beirut
- 1989: Rizk plaza, Broumana
- 1990: Galerie Station des Arts, Beirut
- 1995: Museum Sursock, Beirut
- 1997: Chambre de Commerce et de l’Industrie, Beirut
Citadelle de Tripoli
- 1998: Artuel, Beirut
Park Hotel, Chtaura
Galerie Graffiti, Chtaura
La Fiad, Beirut
- 1999: Open-air exhibition, Byblos
Galerie Piazza del Bambino, Byblos
- 2000: Galerie Bronté, Beirut
- 2002: Galerie du Palais Municipal, Jounieh
Hotel Saint-Georges, Beirut
- 2011: Byblos Bank, Beirut
Haigazian University, Beirut
- 2014: Cynthia Nouhra Art Gallery, Beirut
- 2015: Flouk Art Gallery, Tyre
- 1991: Galerie Opus, Nicosia, Cyprus
Peter’s Gallery, Limassol, Cyprus
- 1992: Palais de L’UNESCO, Paris, France.
Royal Jordan Center, Amman, Jordan
- 1996: Palais Drouot, Paris, France
- 1999: Gloria Gallery, Nicosie, Cyprus
- 2000: Galerie Philippides, Limassol, Cyprus
- 2001: Green Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE
- 2002: City Art Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden
- 2005: Chateau de Boutheon, Lyon, France
Boushari Art Gallery, Kuwait
- 2006: Carthage, Tunisia
GCC polo cup, London, UK
- 2007: Cultural Foundation, Abu Dhabi, UAE
- 2008: Sheraton hotel, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Gallery Gaia, Geneve
- 2011: Palais Drouot, UNESCO, Paris, France
Grand Central Art Center, California, USA
- 2013: Deco Fair, Jeddah, KSA
- 2014: Torre Branca, Milan, Italy
Sofana Dahlan Art Gallery, Jeddah, KSA
Office du Tourisme du Liban, Paris, France
Dar Al funoon Gallery,kuwait
Bait Muzna Gallery, Oman
- 2015: Labo Expo, Milano, Italy
Sloane Club, London, UK
Coastline Art Gallery, California, USA
Bonhams Auction, London, UK