Born in Beirut, Nadia Saikali is a contemporary artist who graduated from the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts, having been encouraged to draw as a child by her father, a draughtsman. She was also a talented ballet dancer and musician. Saikali continued her studies at ‘L’Académie de la Grande Chaumière’ and ‘L’Ecole des Arts Decoratifs’ in Paris. Her training included time spent in the studios of Henri Goetz, Michel Durand and Donnot Seydoux. Saikali returned to Beirut in the mid-1950s. She participated in the annual ‘Salon du Printemps’ at the UNESCO Palace, the ‘Salon d’Automne’ at the Sursock Museum in the 1960s and the 1967 ‘São Paulo Biennale’. When the civil war broke out, she flew back to France.
Described by fellow artist the late Helen Khal as a ‘bohemian artist at work’, Saikali painted either on the floor or against a wall, creating vibrant, three-dimensional volumes of colour, light and movement, and producing kinetic constructions entirely by herself. Sources of inspiration include the four elements, perhaps due to an early fascination with geology and archaeology, and the simple joy of being alive. Her work features in several collections, including the Sursock Museum, Beirut; the Chase Manhattan Bank, New York; the National Fund of Contemporary Art, Paris; and the Royal Institute Galleries, London.