Mounir Canaan was a self-taught artist whose paintings have often been considered ‘ahead of their time’ and have only come to recognition after his passing. Using various colouring materials, he explored dimensionality, perspective, illusionary, proportion and surface texturing until he reached a status of attaining what he believed to be ‘academic realism’.
Unsettled Objects showcases a wide range of artworks by Canaan from different periods of his practice ranging between the 1940s to the 1990s. In the 1940s, Canaan’s work primarily focused on portraiture and scenes from daily life, perhaps paralleling his employment by the newspaper Akhbar el Youm [News of the Day], where he was an illustrator and art consultant. In 1946, his style shifted from formal representation and delved into abstraction, leading to his first collage works in 1953. In the early 1970s, he developed an interest in optical art and experimented with organised repetitions and geometric patterns. Occupying multiple identities, Canaan’s work is still to receive its full recognition.