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Art English Blogs


5 مايو، 2015


“SECTION 11”, Rashed Alshshai’s solo exhibition in Hafiz Gallery, was one of the most memorable exhibits I have ever attended. I’m not talking about the individual artworks as much as I’m talking about the whole concept–every single piece was a story related to another. It used contemporary artwork to talk about the traditions and ideas that changed in our area.  It forced me to go back and research in order to refresh my memory about the history of societal change in Saudi Arabia.

For example how religious misinterpretation and the way people think take over everything. The whole way of  life changed as a result of it, starting with people’s behavior.  One of the things I was curious about: how to take over peoples’ minds and control them by using religion and the current situations of people. For example, the young men who felt the world had let them down. They lowered their expectations of life and their minds became vulnerable to anything. The idea of “winning” something drove them to choose death instead of working hard to reach their goal.

I remembered a book I read previously that was written by Dr AbdulAziz Al Khider. The book analyzes the changes that happened in the way people think here.   It was one of the best books I have ever read about the societal changes in Saudi Arabia-maybe I will talk about it in another post one day. The exhibit took me back to think about all of this.


The exhibit “Section 11” is like a study and it focuses on education because the artist is a teacher and he tried to make the exhibit like a hypothetical class. The art piece which I spent the most time at was a collection of school notebook pages with drawings of students’ dreams, made when they were still young and innocent. The kids dreamed about achieving something, about helping people, about being doctors, engineers, or scientists. He used a reflection in the mirror to show the changes that happened to them when they grew up and how they changed their definitions of “achievement”. I loved how he tried to use objects from our everyday environment, such as the coffee cup display, to show how traditions can sometimes trap and imprison us.

I went to the exhibit twice because the opening night was crowded. I felt like I wanted to come back in order to spend as much time as possible looking at the artwork. The artist was smart to touch our minds in a way that makes us think, remember, and even imagine. It’s not easy to push people to ask existential questions.

Art is not always about creating beautiful pieces. Sometimes it serves as a message or a reminder. And sometimes it’s something that allows us to encounter ourselves or face our reality. That’s what Rashid did in this exhibit. It was a reminder about facing our past. People are good at looking away from their mistakes and repeating the past. I wonder why the artist chose this subject right now? Is it because of what is happening around us? Is he afraid that history will repeat itself?.

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The second day I went back to meet the artist– Rashid. We talked about many things. I was able to see the mind behind all the work revealed. We had a great discussion. I was alone at the exhibit and took another tour through the work. I saw a lot of things I did not see at the opening.

During our little discussion I asked the artist about the message of the art. I asked him, “What is the artwork, is it asking
questions? Or trying to give answers?” He said, “For me, I try to put the person who comes to see my work in a position where he or she will start to ask questions and to think. As an artist, I do not think our job is to fix anything. Rather we put a spotlight on the problems or what we think they are.”

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Art English Blogs

The Reader

15 يناير، 2015



What is the meaning of this word “ART”? Yes, it’s a general question. It is Big because there is no right or wrong answer.  Everyone has his or her own idea of art.

I am curious about the details of anything.  I like to ask questions about small details, then I try to find the big answer for everything I need, but I found out that I spend most of my time and energy jumping from one question to another and I found myself thinking and going to my own inner world all the time. I realized this did not work, so I decided that I will go for the big question.  Maybe that will help to calm down my mind and focus on one thing.

Art is our own way of living and dealing with life, things. Some of us are lucky to have been born creative and have done beautiful and original things. But others just repeat what everyone else did. Not everyone knows how to be himself or herself and not anyone else and that is what we call “NORMAL”. Everyone can look at it from her own point of view.

I asked a question to a French artist, Vincent Floquet, who I met last week, when I attend his exhibit in Jeddah.  I told him I want to ask you about the art itself.  He opened his eyes, touched his glasses and said. “Oh, the Art itself.” I asked him this question without explaining what is going on in my mind.  There was no time to explain, he was busy, but when he opened his eyes I knew that he understood that it’s a huge thing to talk about.  Well, maybe we only talk about a tiny part of it, but i told Vincent Floquet that I’m always curious about what the artist feels or thinks about when they paint.  I look at the painting and try to figure out what the artist felt when he painted it. Usually I feel something. I do not say that I have a super power and I know for sure it’s just what I like to do when I see a painting that I love: I build a connection, then I try to see behind the colors and the lines.

الفنان الفرنسي فينسا فلوكية بجانب لوجة القارئة تصوير مشاعل العمري

The Artist with “The Reader” painting

Mr.Floquet told me that he paints when he feels like he is full of something.  And he said: “I try to put what I saw in my many travels into my paintings and the art for me is speaking about something.  That is why I do not paint a lot because I do not have a lot to say.”

In Mr.Floquet’s paintings I saw a lot of faces. I was curious about this. I’m still thinking about these faces which were hidden in the paintings. It was like I was standing with a thousand eyes looking at me. But no one was there except me and my friend. It was as if everyone the artist had met in his life was there hidden in his paintings.

I saw a lot of great paintings in other Art exhibits before. Some of them I could not afford or the painting was already sold.  And sometimes I feel like I’m not ready yet. But it was special day for me because I met the painting that I could not pass by without buying it. I ignored this strange feeling I had when I feel like I’m not ready this time with a painting titled “the Reader”. The day after the exhibit, I called Mr. Ahmad Huseen and told him I wanted this painting. I remember when they put a red label that announced that this painting was “SOLD.” I had a strange dream that same day, it was full of red dots and I felt worried like if I’m about to have my first baby. I woke up asking myself, “where am I gonna put it? Or should I hide it?”, but what is the point of buying something pretty if I can’t see it every day or let other people see it? It was a lot of pressure I did not expect. But I’m willing to go through this for “The Reader.” I think  I will take a good care of this painting, as it is my first Art purchase.

I have to say that everyone who visits the exhibit will take a trip visiting the places the artist visited before. Everyone will start in France, then Italy, New York, Philippines, Indonesia, Colombia, Africa, and then finally Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, and then end the trip on Hail Street. The painting of this street was spectacular and was one of my favorites. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford it. Lol.

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