Greenbox dictionary of Saudi Arabian artists

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Shalima Sharbatli. So we read on the internet: in Jeddah the apples from France and the oranges from Egypt come in Sharbatli boxes and have Sharbatli stickers on them. It is no surprise then that Shalima Sharbatli informs people that she lives with art 24 hours a day. 'An instinctive Saudi painter,' she herself was branded by Arab News and having to juggle at a young age with a touch of paradise perhaps educated her with knowledge that needs discovery. No images of her artwork travel on the internet, but for the picture in Arab News of herself as an artist, revealing a pair of trousers usually reserved for the atelier, and in front of one of her large outside works in Jeddah. The latest news on her is that she is planning a joint exibition in Paris with two artists from France and Spain. Mitterand Jr. will open the show. It is indeed about finding - not building - bridges, but art is not an international language, as Shalima is quoted to have said in wonder of people who 'imprison' themselves in local subjects. Art needs a viewpoint. The very best artists have eyes at the back of their heads, instinctively. As she is reported to have said that the music made her proud, a closer look at Sharbatli's work will surely reveal some lines of the national anthem of Saudi Arabia. Perhaps the daring scale of her work is such a line and those visiting the government guesthouse in Jeddah, should look out for a 17 meter long wall painting and be the judge of it. The limited glimpse of her work in the Arab News photo reminds me of a Dutch woman of noble birth, Jacoba van Heemskerk, who's more abstract paintings were influenced by Cubism and German expressionism, and who started very much by painting with the brain and struggled to jump out. But that is not Shabatli. It looks like the paint jumped on her first.


26 Augustus 2008:
An instinctive Saudi painter by Galal Fakkar.
18 September 2008:
Art used to build bridges by Galal Fakkar.

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