Modern art from Kuwait: Khalifa Qattan and Circulism

Hussain, Muayad H. (2012). Modern art from Kuwait: Khalifa Qattan and Circulism. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis explores the life and work of the Kuwaiti artist Khalifa Qattan (1934-2003). The first chapter views Qattan in the context of twentieth-century visual culture in Kuwait. It also shows the European influence on his work, as he lived and studied in Britain in the 1950s. A second chapter is dedicated to Qattan's aesthetic theory called Circulism; it shows that it is a philosophy and a style, and situates Circulism between western and Arabic sources. The third chapter deals with the Gulf War of 1991 as a particular topic in Qattan's work, and compares his work about the war with the work of John Keane, the British artist who was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum as an official recorder to cover that war. Considering western and Arabic writings on the war, this chapter argues that different visual interpretations of the war are rooted in an 'insider' and 'outsider' experience. A conclusion discusses the general problems involved when viewing non-western visual cultures with western eyes. An appendix, a bibliography and a list of illustrations followed by 61 illustrations conclude the thesis.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > ND Painting


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