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Saudi artists put on a versatile sculpture show
Text and photos by Fouzia Khan and Mohannad K. Sharawi
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 05 - 11 - 2009

The Saudi Society of Arts and Culture (SSAC) is currently hosting an exhibition of sculptures and ceramic work by 34 Saudi artists at the Almiya art gallery in Jeddah. The exhibition was inaugurated by Prince Musa'ed Bin Abdullah Bin Jalawi on Sunday.
“I am very pleased to see the work of Saudi artists; they have done an excellent job and they have my full support should they exhibit their work internationally,” remarked a visibly pleased Prince Musa'ed Bin Abdullah Bin Jalawi.
There was a diverse array of sculptures and ceramic work on display at the gallery with materials used ranging from wood to tin, iron and cement.
Abdullah Nawawi, the general supervisor of the gallery and member of the exhibition's organizing committee spoke to the Saudi Gazette and he praised the body of work presented, describing it as a “bold move to introduce sculpture art which is still in its infancy.”
Indeed, the exhibition was organized with the goal to promote the work of these Saudi artists since the field of sculpture art is still under development in the Kingdom, despite having become an established part of the international art scene.
“Contemporary sculpture artwork has only been around for a decade, so we still need more promising artists to showcase their work,” Nawawi stressed.
Nawawi added that the displayed work revealed the individual style of each artist, though each creation was remarkably uniform in the way it was produced: through clay and mallet.
Innovation was also on show with the use of a variety of raw materials like wood, marble, bronze, brass, ceramics, pottery, glass, and tin as well as some used aerosol spray cans!
Nawawi explained that some sculptures were made of the same material - clay - but used very differently i.e. heated and cold.
“Ceramic artists have created a captivating glaze using an ample range of colors including bright orange, red, white and blue,” he indicated. One of the featured artists, Nazeer Yavuz, a Saudi plastic artist as well as the assistant manager of the fine arts committee at the SSCA remarked that ceramic art and sculptures have experienced many stages of development and innovation before getting to the level they are at internationally.
A similar process will elevate the field to new heights in the Kingdom and generate interest in it as well.
Another featured artist, Nabil Tahir, presented a sculpture that explores the emotions of a mother towards her child, in an attempt to depict the love Allah has towards human beings. “My work revolves around nature and the Creator; I always work with stone because I believe that it creates a tremendous piece of art,” he remarked in an interview with Saudi Gazette.
The innovative mind behind using used aerosol spray cans, Siddiqui Wasil, is an artist who works with metals for a living and has lived in the Kingdom for more than 20 years. He has participated in more than 700 local exhibitions as well as several internationally as well. In this exhibition, his latest creations involved using empty cans - that previously held things like engine oil and soft drinks - and giving them life-like features. His work was greatly enjoyed by everyone.
Saudi artist Muna Sumbul - fresh from an exhibition in Yemen - similarly employed some innovation in her artwork through the use of wood, ropes and leather along with the more traditional use of ceramic. “As the main base, I like to use ceramic, but with the use of other materials for decoration,” she explained.
“This exhibition is a great opportunity for Saudi artists to explore each other's work and simultaneously get inspired and have a wonderful time.”

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