Greenbox dictionary of Saudi Arabian artists

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Ahmed Felemban is a Saudi art teacher and artist who studied in Italy and has been responisble for organizing exhibitions in Jeddah in the Italian Cultural Centre in co-operation with the Italian Consul General. Felemban went to Italy in 1967 and graduated from the Rome Academy in 1971. 

In November 2007 he organized an exhibition, under the patronage of Makkah governor prince Khalid Al-Faisal, featuring 6 Saudi graduates from Italian art schools: Dia Aziz Dia, Mohamed Al-Saquabi, Kamal Al-Muallim, Othman Al-Khuzaim, Mohamed Mansour Al-Aajam and Felemban himself.

In a first interview with Arab News Felemban about this exhibition he was quoted to have said something that seems to be expected of all Saudi artists: "the techniques we acquired from Italy were merged to the Saudi spirit, its culture and heritage."

A week later in another interview he makes clear that such behaviour was because society was not ready to recieve them back from Italy. Out of necessity he became a teacher. He refers to the fact that the education minister at the time wanted to establish an art academy in Jeddah but was unable to do so. Felemban was then quoted:

"Our Saudi art has no identity, we are still looking for an identity. Saudi art needs to be shaped by having a society or a school to supply the basics."

In May 2008 Felemban again with the Italian consulate organized an exhibition, but now for 5 women artists. (2009).

Sources:

www.arabnews.com

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