An impressive 6 meter long painting by Ismail Shammout (1930-2006) recalling the history of Palestine and the life experiences of this master of Arab modern art will lead Christie’s spring auction season in Dubai from March 15-19. Driven by emotion and passion Odyssey of a People was painted in 1980 as a result of a relentless dedicated effort of over 6 months of daily work. It is the most important and seminal work of the artist’s career and has been directly consigned from the artist’s family.
It was first exhibited in 1981 in Dar Al-Karama in Beirut, later travelling on loan to Damascus, Malaysia, Kuwait, the Jordan National Museum, Abu Dhabi and finally Ramallah. It was at this final location in 2002, on the day of an Israeli incursion, that the painting was quickly hidden and folded away by the director of the museum in a pillow case. It has not been displayed publicly since. After the artist’s death in 2006 and the director’s death in 2008 the artist’s wife Tamam Al Akhal established contact with the museum director’s wife and reclaimed the work. Estimated at US$800,000-900,000 it comes up for sale on March 18