Greenbox dictionary of Saudi Arabian artists

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Ola Hejazi last listed education is that of soft ground etching at the Slade art school at University College of London in 2002, but credit should be given to the Saudi Art Centre in Jeddah where she first touched the oils in 1995. Hejazi, as is in the name, is a Saudi national, although born in Lebanon. She has a very adequate website and will share her appreciation of modern art and acclaimed female artists by posing with a Tate mug in front of photos of Frida Kahlo while using the colour orange to connect herself to both.

Now looking at her galleries on line there are a number of sets to be seen, starting with her 'first exhibition' in 2001, which is like a blue group and then a year later there is a red group. Like the groups in the following years they seem to fit a scheme of abstraction and traditional symbols in which Hejazi was not the only one working in Saudi Arabia. Countries do have collective ideas about art. Judging from her online gallery from around 2006 the artist seems to express stronger opinions of her own design. There is more colour, more detail. And more tension, as can be seen in Missing Tattoo, the large (150 x 150 cm) painting illustrated here at the top, which works well on many levels of focus. The etching of the question mark measures only 10x10 cm and remember that Arabs read from right to left.

Some of Hejazi's best paintings are part of a permanent collection by the name of Segia in Riyadh. One of them is convincingly red. 
(27 May 2010).


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From top to bottom: Missing Tattoo, Soft Ground Etching No. C, Untitled part of Segia Collection .