Nicola Saig: The Return to Jerusalem
Curated by George Al Ama
The exhibition reveals twelve paintings by pioneering Jerusalemite artist, Nicola Saig (1863 – 1942) recently discovered by George Al Ama in Rajai’ Zacharia’s home in Bethlehem.
In the late nineteenth century Saig was known as an iconographer and painter, trained in the Byzantine tradition of icon painting in the Greek Orthodox church and by his predecessors in the Jerusalem-style practice. At the turn of the century, Saig’s style transformed as he explored new materials and techniques, and introduced secular genres.
The twelve paintings present works from Saig’s later years, maturing as an independent painter who developed his own style distinguished amongst his peers. The paintings present diverse themes and genres including portraiture, religious, still-life and mythological paintings.
Many of Saig’s works were left unsigned and never dated. Saig didn’t live to witness the 1948 war, but as a result of the war his family immigrated from Jerusalem leaving mere traces of his legacy behind but maintaining a collection of oral testaments about his life and inspiring others to embark on a quest to find his works.