Located in a part of Jeddah which is so Lahore-like it seems like an optical illusion at first. Just round the bend that leads to Obigan, right opposite a lush green park is the Alamia Gallery. It’s clearly marked and as you park your car, you can see right through its glass walls. I attended an exhibition by Eli Acheson, a British artist. She seemed fascinated with the elements that characterize Saudi Arabia, sand and wind. Her work is an almost obsessive exploration of techniques, procedures and effects that merge and fuse elements and allow their fluidity to dictate the final product. Interesting technique and original results.
The gentleman incharge who told me that the gallery has been around for some 18 years. He let me in on the entire collection of the gallery, a treasure trove of work by artists as different in their origins as Iraqis, Saudis, Syrian, South African, Irani and Lebanese. Mostly paintings and calligraphies, the work was very rich and the undisplayed collection spread over the entire upper area of the gallery kept me busy for hours. The work they receive flows in regularly, so the collection is constantly renewed and they display different artists in rotation. Since a lot of the artists are relative amateurs, the work is affordably priced too, so this just might be the place you want to stop by if you’re looking for that one piece of Saudi art that you wish to remember your sojourn here by forever.
A phenomenal woman is behind this phenomenal effort to preserve what she felt to be a fast-vanishing culture. Through her paintings, Safiya Bin Zagar has immortalized the traditions of Saudi culture, taking it up in the form of individual chapters like nuptials, traditional dresses etc. The sheer range and mettle of her work is astounding.
Sites for expat artists in Jeddah