Google marked what would have been the 102nd birthday of late Lebanese painter and sculptor Saloua Raouda Choucair with a Google Doodle featuring the spirit of the abstract artist’s work.

Choucair began studying art in private studios in Lebanon before studying at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts School) in Paris. In France, she also attended Fernand Léger’s studio.

Choucair produced a large body of paintings from the start of her career in the 1930s. Yet it was only in the late 1960s that she sold her first work.

With the exhibition held at the Arab Cultural Gallery in Beirut (1947) which presented abstract art, Choucair placed herself as the first Arab artist to embrace this art genre.

“Saloua Raouda Choucair produced work that was far more daring than her Lebanese peers,” The Guardian wrote in a feature dedicated to Choucair in 2013.

She won an appreciation prize from the General Union of Arab Painters (1985) and was awarded a medal by the Lebanese government in 1988.

As a sculptor, she created “sculptures that can be stacked like bricks or vertebrae, box-like forms whose various parts can be rearranged in new configurations (and they certainly have been played with, as their scuffed surfaces attest), forms in polished brass that click together to make columns, sculptures whose parts cleave sexily and jostle aggressively,” The Guardian feature explained.

It is the concept of box-like forms that Google used to capture Choucair in its doodle.

The Saloua Raouda Choucair Google Doodle is regional and can be viewed in North Africa and the Middle East.
Al Ahram

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