DUBAI: Some of the most popular videos trending on Instagram in Saudi Arabia over the past few days have been of old abandoned houses in Riyadh, Abha and Taif filled with freshly painted murals of women’s faces.
Saudi graffiti artist Ali Alnefaei, who goes by the name Klakh after his hometown Kelakh, a small village near Taif, is garnering attention for his meticulously painted faces of women — celebrities and otherwise — of all ages and in all conditions.
He has also painted the faces of Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Klakh’s paintings of females include veiled girls, and young women wearing playful bandanas and scarves. All of them have a heightened state of expression, as if they are trying to communicate a message to onlookers.
The old ruins of houses that Klakh has been using for his art have peaked considerable interest.
His videos have gone viral at a time when Saudis remain under stringent lockdown due to COVID-19. A visit to one of the old houses gives us a sense of the Kingdom’s past, while Klakh’s art reminds us of the country’s ever-changing and vibrant present.