Sharjah Art Foundation hosts the first large institutional exhibition dedicated to the prolific Lebanese artist Aref El Rayess (1928 - 2005). Through an ample array of paintings, drawings, sculptures and collages, the exhibition retraces the life and career of this great Arab modernist, explains the complexity of his artistic practice and his deep connections with the many places where El Rayess travelled and studied. From the years spent in Lebanon and Senegal, the journeys across Europe and the United States, up to his return to the Arab world. In each of the experiences of the artist, he tried to capture the essence fo the world that surrounded him. His first exhibition, after having taught himself, took place at the American University of Beirut in 1948. Then, El Rayess moved to Paris where, besides studying at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, he worked and studied in the studios of André Lhote, Fernand Léger, Marcelle Marso and Ossip Zadkine. He experimented with various mediums, from painting to sculpture, from drawing to tapestries. He developed a strong interest for the abstract, while also incorporating folkloristic and mystic motifs into his works.