Greenbox dictionary of Saudi Arabian artists

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Maha Al-Khalawi (1982)is a name you will find on a card sent to you because of Ramadan or other days of Islamic obligation and celebration. She is a graphic designer connected to the world in the Khatt Foundation network for Arabic Typography. There she also posted a cartoon, which she made as a freshman, showing four moments in a day of an average Saudi man. After work, traffic jams, behind a pick-up truck with sheep, and avoiding wife and children, the man relaxes among other men with waterpipe, stories and cards. There is also an icon she made of herself, wearing sunglasses, in a grafitti stenciling workshop. The grafitti stencil is only the second selfportrait, by a Saudi living in Saudi Arabia, which I discovered. The other being that of Dia Aziz Dia. More of Al-Khalawi's work can be seen on the Khatt network and she is there because simply: "I love design. I find Arabic and Bilingual design even more facinating." An 'Eid Mubarak' card she designed for Oasis Magazine arrived today on this editor's desk. (October 3, 2009)

The artist graduated in 2006 from Dar Al Hekma college in Jeddah in a 'first batch of graphic designers' in KSA. The college was said to have been the only then to offer a BA in graphic design in KSA. Since she received further on the job training in design and advertising agencies. And she illustrated a Children's book by the title of "Ara bi Qalby" which translates as "I see with my heart," written by Hadeel Abbasi. A title which actually raises some doubt about the need for graphic designers and other visual communicators, when these children grow up. (November 9, 2009)



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From top to bottom: selfportrait in grafitti stencil, 'the cause of depression' and ramadan.