Mustafa Sabbagh was born in Amman (Jordan, 1961). An Italo-Palestinian, he grew up between Europe and the Middle East; cosmopolitan by circumstance, nomadic by nature. Former assistant to Richard Avedon, he later lectured at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. In 2012, after a successful career as a fashion photographer, published in the world’s most prestigious magazines, Sabbagh focuses his research on contemporary art through photography and video art with a sort of aesthetic counter-canon. His punctum is skin – a diary of individual uniqueness. Harmony of imperfection, psychological enquiry and anthropological study through image construction are the style elements that Sabbagh transfers with ease from the glossy magazines to the world’s most famous museums and galleries such as the Musée de l’Élysée in Lausanne, internationally considered as a temple of photography.
Frequently the protagonist of interviews and documentaries that explore his vision, in 2013 Sky Art HD in its series Photographers, placed him among the 8 most significant artists of the contemporary Italian scene. To date Mustafa Sabbagh has been recognized, by no lesser an art and photography historian than Peter Weiermair, as one of the 100 most influential photographers in the world, and one of the 40 most significant nude portrait artists at an international level – the only Italian to make this ranking.
His works have appeared in numerous internationally accredited publications (including “Faces – the 70 most beautiful photography portraits of all time”, edited by Peter Weiermair), in sold-out monographs (including About Skin, published by Damiani and among the acquisitions of the library of art books of the Tate Gallery, London) and feature in several permanent collections, in Italy and abroad – including the historic Collezione Arte Farnesina. Moreover, an entire project of his was acquired for the MAXXI permanent collection of contemporary art – National Museum of the XXI Century Arts (Rome).
Following the presentation of his first anthological exhibition “XI Commandment: You shall not forget”, Mayor Leoluca Orlando, ‘expressing great admiration for his art and an outlook projected towards the same extreme point of the horizon’, awarded him honourary citizenship of the Municipality of Palermo. In the same year, the Nèon theatre company of Catania drew inspiration from his works to produce their play “Invasioni – dedicato a Mustafa Sabbagh”, chosen by the magazine Panorama as one of the 10 best theatrical performances of 2016.