Samiah Khashoggi‘s ‘Patches’ deals with social issues

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Updated 22 May 2014
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Samiah Khashoggi‘s ‘Patches’ deals with social issues

Artists always portrait their inner feelings, emotions and thoughts on the canvas with colors and lines.
Samiah Khashoggi is an artist who loves to portray her opinions on the canvas and share it with people. She, however, never forces her thoughts on the other person’s mind as she always keeps open the doors of thinking and making decisions.
Khashoggi holds a bachelor degree in interior design from Kingston University (1983), and a master degree in Fine Arts from De Montfort University in Leicester, UK (2006). Her life is divided between her job as an assistant professor of interior design at Dar Al-Hekma College and her art practice since 1990 until present. She has exhibited at numerous group shows. She received an award by Saudia Al-Malwan in 1990; various local art collectors have acquired her artwork. Her first solo was in 2000 at Al-Alamiya Art Gallery in Jeddah where she exhibited 48 paintings in oil. She is the founder of Saudiaat in 2005, a women artists’ group diverse in their styles and techniques united by their gender and solidarity. The group has successfully exhibited four times: 1st- Identities Unveiled, 2nd- Expressions, 3rd- Dialogues, and 4th- Directions. She is also the founder of Midrar, in 2013, an art hub to enhance women’s aesthetic experiences and awareness of contemporary art practices.
Her recent solo exhibition comprises 20 paintings and art work of “Mashi Mashi”. It is titled “Patches,” and portrays the issue of social patching.
“We live our lives without really addressing or resolving our personal problems, at all levels, be it social, spiritual or political, we have become masters in disguising our unresolved issues, we patch up and move on, when we try to resolve, we often here the Arabic phrase “Mashi Mashi” which means move along, even if these issues remain unresolved and buried,” she said.
She added the exhibition’s message is that we patch up consistently and build layers after layers of hidden and camouflaged issues, creating a false and unrealistic exterior image that is often aesthetically pleasing but none the less deceptive.
She said that she used mixed media and the technique of collage to create the multiple layers she needs to best execute her statement.
“At first glance, the art work may look like one surface suggestive of the pretty picture we try to present to others, but as one approaches and looks closely, layers will be seen representing the many attempts people try in hiding their problems perhaps to enable them to carry on with their lives,” she added. 
She said her art work is divided in to different subgroups and each group represents different scenarios, as relationships between mother and daughter, husband and wife, emotions and link between siblings, friends, and relatives depicting the different dynamics of these relationships where one would normally “patch up”.
She said she also presented a seat which is a symbol of power that is hanging by threads and is representing an unstable position. “People will constantly lose sight of what is truly important by attempting to reach for these high set positions. There are also contemplations and lost dreams of women looking either disappointed or hopeful, deliberately left untitled to allow viewers to create their own narratives,” she said.
She picked different scenarios of life and its problems, such as, power, the relationships between husband and wife, siblings, women and their friends and so on.
She explained that she divided the series in to two main groups. The chair hanging in the middle representing power, titles and class does not belong to either group.
“Through that I want to tell society that it’s not about titles, positions or PhD’s, it’s what you can do for the country and people, its problems, such as, racism and discrimination in society, as it affects me as person. I want quality, I want people to do their best regardless of any title,” she explained. 
She said the old buildings in Balad are the responsibility of the owners of these houses or the private sector, which is equally responsible and can help in preserving the beautiful heritage of Jeddah.
The artist’s love for pattern and designs are clearly reflected in the use of collage that worked as a significant foundation for all her canvases. Regardless of the fact that these paintings can be relative to everyone who observes them, the artist stayed true to her style with her popular use of colors, details, and broad use of mediums.
Khashoggi advised new generation artists that they should stay true to their own style, and that they shouldn’t copy.

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With Saudi roots and an Indian heart, Al-Kazi is an act the stage will never forget

Updated 21 February 2019
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With Saudi roots and an Indian heart, Al-Kazi is an act the stage will never forget

  • Though an icon in India, few people know about Al-Kazi’s Saudi roots

JEDDAH: India has always been a hub of art and culture. Over the last century, movies emerged as the most expressive cultural medium, and the Indian film industry — commonly known as Bollywood — has since become a powerhouse of world cinema.

One can never do its history justice without mentioning Ebrahim Al-Kazi.

A renowned director and drama teacher, he worked as the director of the prestigious New Delhi-based National School of Drama (NSD) from 1962 to 1977, teaching many well-known future actors and fellow directors, including Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah and Rohini Hattangadi. He also founded the Art Heritage Gallery in New Delhi.

Though an Indian icon, however, few people know about Al-Kazi’s Saudi roots. His father, Hamad bin Ali Al-Kazi, was a trader from Unaiza in the Kingdom’s Qassim region, who subsequently settled in Pune, India, where Ebrahim was born in 1925. 

Early on in his career, Al-Kazi worked with the Bombay Progressive Artists Group, which included M.F. Husain, F.N. Souza, S.H. Raza, Akbar Padamsee and Tyeb Mehta, who would all later contribute to the design of his sets.

He worked in India, the US and Europe before becoming the director of the NSD, and later of the Asian Theater Institute, and is credited with staging more than 50 plays in his lifetime. He also contributes to the preservation of Indian cultural history through his Al-Kazi Foundation for the Arts.

In February 2015, Al-Kazi was honored at the second Saudi Film Festival in Dammam. He was later quoted in Arab media sources on his Saudi upbringing: “Our father was a firm believer in our cultural roots that went back to Saudi Arabia, and we spoke only Arabic at home. We had a teacher of Arabic and Islamic studies who came from Saudi Arabia, and lived as part of our family.

“Arab families (in India) did not mix very much with others, but my father had close ties with people other than Arabs,” he added.

Al-Kazi has also won many prestigious Indian awards. He was the first recipient of Roopwedh Pratishthan’s Tanvir Award in 2004 for his contribution to Indian theater, and in 1966 received the Padma Shri award. He won the Padma Bhushan award in 1991, and was given India’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, in 2010.