Those browsing Google from the Middle Eastern region will notice a special artwork on the homepage today. Maliheh Afnan, a legendary Palestinian-born artist, is being featured on Google Doodle, transforming the search engine’s traditional logo into an illustrated animation of the creative who died in 2016.
The artist is being paid homage to after a year since the day an exhibition celebrating her work, entitled The Symmetry of Fragility, ended at The Institute of Contemporary Arts in Milan. But, who is she?
Afnan was a wanderer, firstborn in 1935 to Persian parents in Haifa, Palestine, moving to Beirut for high school and later graduating with a BA from the American University of Beirut. She chased her dream of becoming an artist in Washington DC, where she graduated with an MA in Fine Arts at the Corcoran School of Art. From 1963-66 she lived in Kuwait and then returned to Beirut, where she lived until 1974. She spent the following 23 years in Paris, where she had numerous exhibitions, before settling in London in 1997, where she passed away at the age of 81.
The creative worked with paper on an intimate scale and was inspired by archeology and script. Her works allude to ancient scrolls and tablets, while her abstract works appear as landscapes, figures or relics that have been excavated from a long-forgotten site. Using muted hues and earthy colors, her layers and overlapping patterns leave a sense of what it means to live in other times and in different places. Although influenced by the traditional art forms of her own heritage, such as Persian miniatures, calligraphic texts and ancient manuscripts from the Near East, her Western education has caused her to look towards artists such as Klee, Rothko and Pollock.
Her works can be found in museums globally, such as New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, The British Museum in London and the Barjeel Art Collection in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, boasting her 50-year-long legacy of a career.