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Exploring the Intersection of Science and Spirituality: The Remarkable Journey of Nadia Saikali

Lebanese abstract artist Nadia Saikali stands out as a unique individual who seamlessly blends scientific inquiry with spiritual exploration. Born in 1936, her life story is nothing short of remarkable. A seasoned educator at the Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts and the Lebanese University, Saikali embarked on a journey that saw her traverse continents, marry twice—to a Welshman and a Frenchman—exhibit her artworks globally from Brazil to Iran, venture into furniture design, and cultivate a profound fascination for Buddhism, geography, and geology.

According to Juliana Khalaf Salhab, co-director of the upcoming Beirut Museum of Art (BeMA), Saikali's impact extends beyond her artistic endeavors. Revered by her students, she encouraged artistic freedom over rigid classical training, fostering an environment where artists could explore their inner selves.

Saikali's own artistic repertoire, set to be showcased at BeMA, is characterized by a harmonious blend of vibrant colors and scientific inquiry. Influenced by her upbringing where she sourced supplies for her father's dental clinic, she later delved into kinetic art, melding fiberglass, and electricity in her creations. Through textured paintings, she intricately wove together hues and gestures, depicting ethereal landscapes of nature and astrology imbued with a sense of liberation and allure.

She aimed to make her audience feel deeply, going beyond just looking at her art. Despite inadvertently relocating to France amidst Lebanon's civil unrest in the mid-1970s, Saikali continued to garner attention both nationally and internationally. Yet, according to Salhab, her name isn't as well-remembered due to the war taking precedence over artistic stories of that time.

Nonetheless, there's a resurgence of interest in reviving the legacy of artists like Saikali. As Salhab asserts, efforts are being made to bring back these artists into today's cultural discussions. With each step, Saikali's contributions will likely gain the recognition they deserve, securing her place in art history.

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