Greenbox dictionary of Saudi Arabian artists

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Samiah Khashoggi (1958) is a program director at the interior design faculty at Dar Al Hekma College in Jeddah. She was born in what the Saudi Gazette Internet October 21, 2008 edition said was the conservative area of Abha. Her parents emigrated when she was young and she attended the American School in Beirut. Her art education took place in the United Kingdom where she received a BA in interior design from the University of Kingston upon Thames. Later she did a MA in fine art at De Montfort College. She is a painter.

After returning to Jeddah in 2005 she started on a job at her brothers furniture and design company, but continued to paint. As a painter she founded Saudiaat, a women's art association for mutual support, which organizes annual sales exhibitions. The first of these was held in September 2005 at the Al-Alamya Gallery in Jeddah. The initiative was a result of Khashoggi's thesis for her MA studies, which was entitled “The Development of Saudi Women’s Art Movement in the 20th-21st Century” and required that she organize an exhibition showing the work of ten women artists.

The Saudi Gazette wrote Khashoggi never lost touch with her conservative roots and that religion and islamic symbolism feature strongly in her art. Most of her paintings are of women with no facial features. They quote the artist: “This is not because we don’t have a right to speak, or that we don’t see enough. It is just going abstract, and the faceless ladies started with the religious restriction on figurative representation and the prohibition of that in Islam. I am not really sure about this; I do portraits, but when I do full figures, I have to miss something out, so it is not complete. I like them being faceless because once I put a face to that, it becomes someone, and I am not talking about someone – I am talking generally about women."

In the 3rd Saudiaat Art Group exhibition in 2008 criteria for participation were introduced among which is the Saudi nationality. For expatriate artists Khashoggi established 'Friends of Saudiaat' and invited them to join the exhibition


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