Bilqis | Kamal Boullata at Meem Gallery


As she was entering the crystal palace, which King Solomon had built especially for her, the Queen of Sheba, also referred to as Bilqis, lifted up her skirt, thinking the highly reflective surface she was stepping onto was water.
This Quranic legend and its allusion to aesthetic perfection is the essence of Kamal Boullata’s geometrical abstract paintings arranged in triptychs, exploding in colors on the walls of Dubai's Meem Gallery
Bilqis 2

Born in Jerusalem in 1942, Boullata studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Rome. During his subsequent studies at the Corcoran Gallery School of Art in Washington D.C., his discovery of many abstract artists exploring geometrical shapes, transported him back to his childhood, reminding him of failed attempts to draw straight lines and symmetries on plain paper. For this proved a difficult task, he moved on to graph paper, which he continues using today.
Bilqis 3, detail

Constructed in a very pragmatic way, Boullata’s paintings start with ruler and compass-drawn lines on graph paper.  Then comes the careful selection of colors – four or five at the most – and their subtle intertwining. While this creative process might seem quite architectural, Boullata rather compares it to engineering a human: the drawings represent the skeleton, whereas the colorful, acrylic fillings symbolize the  flesh and soul.
Bilqis 4

His quest is that of beauty, which he believes is the ultimate purpose of art, rather than an expression of political views. “Art and politics have nothing in common”, he states. The result of this practice and ideology is a series of colorful, light reflecting paintings, which vertical lines are built upon the Fibonacci’s suite, in a nod to structural perfection experienced by Bilqis in the crystal palace.  

Bilqis runs at Meem Gallery until 31 July 2014.
Photo credits
Images courtesy of Meem Gallery