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MBI Al Jaber Lecture Series: ‘Making a Mark: A History of the Middle East through Postage Stamps’ by Matthew Corbin Bishop

Matthew Corbin Bishop, artist and Middle East historian
Matthew Corbin Bishop, artist and Middle East historian

Matthew Corbin Bishop, artist and Middle East historian, presented ‘Making a Mark: A History of the Middle East Through Postage Stamps’ to an enthusiastic audience at the MBI Al Jaber lecture series on April 27th. His artwork is held in many private and public collections, including the Government Art Collection, and has been exhibited at the Whitechapel Gallery; Rose Issa Projects, London; The Ulster Museum Belfast; the Contemporary Art Fair Istanbul and Art Dubai.

In his presentation, Matthew discussed why monuments and men are depicted in postage stamps. With information taken from history books, national archives and philatelic collections, he used his paintings to comment on the evolution of geopolitics and international relations during the late Ottoman period through to the European Colonial era.

Matthew started his stamp painting project in 2008 and showed his work for the first time at Truman’s Brewery in London’s East End during 2009. The stamp paintings are 7 times the size of the originals and he uses a combination of ink transfer, oil paint, and beeswax on canvas, to transport them from the colonial past to the present day.

Some of Matthew’s work will be exhibited at the forthcoming photographic exhibition ‘Buildings that Fill My Eye: The architectural heritage of Yemen’ which opens at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, on 13th July and runs until 23rd September. The exhibition is sponsored by the MBI Al Jaber Foundation, Ginkgo and the British-Yemeni Society. For more information, please go to:

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