Algerian Artist Mohamed Temmam

Mohamed Temmam (February 23, 1915 – July 15, 1988) is remembered for his artistic skill and talent, particularly in the style of miniature painting and illumination. Visitors to the National Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts) in Algiers will have the opportunity of viewing several superb examples of this talented Algerian artist’s work which includes themes from his childhood, still life portrayals of traditional Algerian items, spectacular landscapes and insightful portraits. His illumination works – decoration of texts and manuscripts – embraced folk-art and Arab-Muslim art with his own unique flair.

Born in the Casbah of Algiers on February 23, 1915, Mohamed Temmam discovered his artistic talent at an early age when he attended an exhibition of works by Algerian artists, including Omar Racim. Between 1928 and 1936 he attended the School of Traditional Arts where he received tuition in various artistic mediums, including sculpture and woodwork, and received a number of prizes. He also tried his hand at ceramics in the studio of Mahieddine Cherrad.

In 1934 Temmam exhibited six of his artworks at the 34th Exhibition of the Society of Algerian artists – three miniatures and three paintings. From 1934 through to 1938 he participated in numerous exhibitions, including the 13th Exhibition of Artistic Union of North Africa and a solo exhibition in Algiers. He also received a scholarship at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs in Paris.

In 1941 he received a silver medal at the 14th Exhibition of Artistic Union of North Africa and in 1944 exhibited twelve of his artworks in an exhibition organized by Omar Racim and the Franco-Muslim Circle of Algiers. In 1946, in a tour organized by Mohamed Racim, Temmam exhibited his works in Stockholm and Oslo. In 1960, together with a group of North African artists, he exhibited his works at the Club Des 4 Vents in Paris.

In addition to teaching the artistic styles of miniature and illumination at the National School of Fine Arts of Algiers, Mohamed Temmam was appointed as curator of the National Museum of Antiquities during the War of National Liberation, and remained in that position until his death on July 15, 1988. Artworks depicting his unique artistic style remains as a testament to his talent.