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Saudi woman artist to exhibit in S. Korea
By Habib Shaikh
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 25 - 06 - 2009

Homoud, a Saudi woman artist from Jeddah, is the first Arab artist to be invited to exhibit at the grand opening of Jeju Museum of Art in Seoul, Korea. The 3D animation of her work (nine paintings) will become part of the museum's collection.
The exhibition, called su:mbisori, is hosted by Jeju Special Self-governing Province and organized by Jeju Museum of Art.
The inaugural ceremony will take place on June 26, preceded by a press opening on June 25, and the exhibition will last till Sept. 30.
Al-Homoud is one of 36 artists, from 11 countries, whose works have been selected for the exhibition - 22 from Korea, one each from Saudi Arabia, Russia, France, Taiwan, the Netherlands, Japan, and China, two each from the United States and Germany, and three from the United Kingdom.
Asked how all of this came about, Al-Homoud told Saudi Gazette in an online interview that one of the curators of the museum, JW Stella, visited the Edge of Arabia Exhibition in London and decided to include her work along with other international artists in the opening exhibition of the museum.
Al-Homoud stressed that she is not the first Saudi artist to be recognized internationally.
“Princess Reem Al-Faisal, for example, has exhibited in 14 different countries. This means that Saudi art is being taken seriously and all that Saudis need is more exposure. There are many excellent artists in our country. The selection of my work or that of any other Saudi artist will promote Saudi art and culture in general,” she added.
“My work is about a universal message that can be communicated with any culture or religion. I think of myself as a Muslim artist and my work is a reflection of that. I don't impose anything, but I invite people to think of things they tend to forget,” she said.
Al-Homoud said that when Saudi artists are chosen to exhibit their work in any other country, they become ambassadors of Saudi culture.
“They carry their heritage with them, but the international art scene wants to see innovations and new ideas originating from our own culture not a copy of what they are used to seeing,” she added.
“I am very happy that Saudi art is spreading West and East. The level of the work of the other participating artists in Korea is really impressive. I love the theme of the exhibition and I feel privileged to be part of such an event,” she said.
She explained that the Korean curator discussed her work with the museum. They wanted to show both the prints and the 3D animation (which was a work in progress at the time). The museum saw a sample of the work and they decided to show the animation and to buy it.
Al-Homoud said that the work is an ongoing project called the Language of Existence, a work that is on the border of art and science.
“They are compositions of the names of God. Language is very complex, it is illustrated in nature as well and one needs to look and think deeply to understand it. In other words meditate. These moving images are like a spiritual journey where the compositions evolve and rotate peacefully,” she said.
“I am interested in geometry because it explains the creation and therefore deepens my faith in The Creator. Geometric patterns fascinate me because they make you think of the link between the center and the periphery, unity and multiplicity. In other words, The Creator and the creation,” she added.
Asked what the selection of her work meant for Saudi and Arab artists, she said whether it is her or someone else, it means recognition of a certain creativity on an international level.
“It means a lot to me that I have two exhibitions at the same time, one in London and one in Korea with the same level of appreciation. We are more familiar with the Western culture than the Eastern culture simply because we travel to Europe more than the Far East. The Eastern culture is fascinating and their rich history provides us with so much to learn from,” she said.
Dr. Young-ho Kim, director of the museum, explained that the exhibition will provide a unique environment to create new forms of work by the artists at the forefront of contemporary art, and on a scale never experienced in Jeju Island.
“Both regional and international audiences will have a tremendous opportunity to discover exceptional works by leading contemporary artists, but also equally inspirational young emerging artists, who will explore the interesting convergence of the authentic cultural code of Jeju Island, demonstrated in contemporary scenarios,” he added.
He said that like a pearl in the deep blue, Jeju Island is one of the most beautiful islands in the Pacific Rim, and is blessed with the perfect natural combination – water, light, and the Pacific winds – that have become a cornerstone for its social infrastructure.
“Recently Jeju Island has shifted its focus and transformed itself into a center to promote art and culture. With significant funding, the new Museum of Art is the first of these ambitious cultural projects to be realized, and will play a crucial role as a cultural center not just for the region, but also on an international level,” the museum director stressed.

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