Born in 1931 in Algeria, Baya was orphaned at age five and adopted later by a French couple who saw the artistic potential and her talent. Considered as one of the most famous Algerian woman artist, she was completely self-taught and had a profound influence on North African post-colonial art movements during the mid-twentieth century and beyond.
She is among the most important and influential artists in Algerian modern art, and was often associated with the Surrealist movement. Baya took her inspiration primarily from her homeland where she died in 1998. Her dreamlike quality work, rich in symbols and ornamentation have carefully contributed in constructing a distinct visual depiction influenced by her Algerian cultural heritage.
Using bold lines, along with bright colours and playful imagery, she was drawn to art as an adolescent by observing what she lived with and saw all around her, a mix of Arab and Berber cultures. She was highly valued by many of the leading figures of the Parisian avant-garde such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and the father of Surrealism, André Breton.
With around 70 original works from different periods, with generous loans from various institutions and private lenders, this exhibition aims to reflect a deep and emotional view into her life