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Mashii Mashii (Let It Go!) Exhibition sheds light on Saudi heritage
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 11 - 05 - 2014


Fatima Muhammad
Saudi Gazette
JEDDAH — Why would people in society hide their real views and feelings and instead appear with fake masks when confronting others? That's the underlying question framed by Saudi artist Samiah Khashoggi in her work.
Though her solo exhibition, now on at the at Tashkeil, in Jeddah till May 15, is termed in Arabic Mashii Mashii (translated as: Let it Go!) and has up to 22 paintings that are all displayed untitled, her work is expressive in itself as it provides singular narration of people. This is her second solo display.
Her first solo exhibition in December last was themed “patches”, and again the strokes on the canvas were expressive of the people's emotion. Khashoggi's bold effort dragged many people interested in Saudi art and heritage, including artists, students and foreigners living in Jeddah, to lap up her conceptual paintings.
Speaking to Saudi Gazette while touring the current exhibits, Khashoggi said that she preferred to leave her paintings untitled in order not to limit the imagination of the audience. She wanted people to draw their own accounts from the exhibits.
“I am asking each person to derive their own meaning from the projected art, with the question why do we hide our true feelings? staring at one's face. That is a question I'm raising here in my art and this includes relations with others including the relationship between brothers, couples, mothers and daughter and so on...”
When asked why the people portrayed in the painting do not have any facial features, Khashoggi explained that she normally does not give them features allowing the art lines to express the emotions.
The solo collection also indicates that the people of earlier generations are expressing distress with the current generation for not preserving the heritage. “Heritage is not only preserving buildings it is rather about stories that are not narrated that have taken place in these buildings and they should see the light. ”
The artist has shied away from intense colors and used light blue, pink, yellow, among other light colors, she also used collage and mixed media to create the multiple layers she needed to execute her statement.
She elaborated, “At first glance, the artwork may look like one surface suggestive of the pretty picture we try to present to others, but as one approaches and looks closely, layers will be seen representing the multi-attempts people make in hiding their emotions, perhaps to enable them to carry on with their lives.”
Khashoggi in her recent series addresses the issue of social patching. She explained, “We live our lives without really addressing or resolving our personal problems, at all levels, be it social, spiritual, or political. We have become masters in disguising our unresolved issues; we patch up and move on, when we try to resolve something, we often act like the Arabic phrase “Mashii, Mashii”, which means “move along “Let it Go“ even if these issues remain unresolved and buried."
She added, “We wear patches continuously, until we build layers and layers of hidden and camouflaged issues, creating a false and unrealistic exterior image that is often aesthetically pleasing but none the less deceptive.”
The solo exhibition also has paintings of the historic Jeddah buildings and a remarkable piece that depicts a fancy chair. The chair is a metaphor for a seat of power. And its hanging by threads suggests an unstable position. Despite its instability; people constantly lose sight of what is truly important by attempting to reach for these high positions.
Samiah Khashoggi was born in Abha. She is an assistant professor of interior design at Dar Al-Hekma University. She is also the founder of ‘Saudiaat' Group established in 2005 and the founder of Midrar art platform and group in 2013.


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