Mohammed Khadda is considered one of the founding fathers of modern and contemporary art in Algeria. Synthesising western painting techniques with the fluidity of Arabic writing, Khadda represents a generation of Algerian artists who wove together calligraphic heritage and the formal language of Western abstraction through the 1950s. Forging a distinct Algerian artistic practice became more critical in the aftermath of the country’s independence from France in 1962. The political transition influenced the founding in 1967 of art movements known as ‘Aouchem’, Arabic for tattoo, and School of the Sign, of which Khadda was an active participant.
Often working with a palette of earth tones, Khadda creates tactile compositions that layer Arabic writing and calligraphy over atmospheric abstract canvases. A self-taught painter, Khadda was born in Mostaganem. In 1953, he travelled to Paris, where he spent a decade before returning to Algeria. Khadda was a founding member of the National Union of the Visual Arts, established in 1964, and participated in producing a number of collective murals during the 1970s. In addition to exhibiting regularly in Algeria and abroad, Khadda illustrated novels and books of poetry for several well-known Algerian writers, including Rachid Boudjedra.