Wednesday, November 11, 2015 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – Dar Al-Hekma University’s Visual Communication faculty and staff presented their first research exhibition “Diversity Breeds Creativity”. It was held in Dar Al-Hekma University’s atrium from Sunday, November 08, 2015 until Thursday, November 12, 2015. This was the first of an annual Visual Communication faculty and staff exhibition at Dar Al-Hekma University. The exhibitors shared with the university community the outcome of their research because in this field artwork is the result of research.
“Dar Al-Hekma University’s faculty goes over the call of duty to educate their students. Research is one of the most educational tools that Dar Al-Hekma University focuses on, and our faculty understands the importance and value of research in the educational process,” said Dr. Suhair Hassan Al-Qurashi, the president of Dar Al-Hekma University.
Twenty-four members from the Visual Communication’s staff and faculty participated in the exhibition and showcased around 100 entries. The Visual Communication department has at the moment 38 faculty and staff members representing 11 nationalities; hence the title of the exhibition “Diversity Breeds Creativity”. The exhibition goes hand in hand with this year’s value of Dar Al-Hekma University “fostering creativity”.
As an active group of visual artists from diverse backgrounds, the faculty and staff felt it was time to share their contributions to their field of study with the university and with their students. Although they all teach or work at the university during the day, they are all practicing artists as well, always researching and experiencing their surroundings and creating their art as a result.
“This was the first time that we were asking faculty and staff members to put together an exhibition here at Dar Al-Hekma. The outcome is truly inspiring. The caliber of artistic talent that teaches and works in this department explains why our students are so successful themselves. On a daily basis our students are surrounded by a team of amazingly talented artists that made it their calling to pass on their knowledge and passion for art. There is no better way to start your own journey as an artist,” said Cordula Peters, the chair for Visual Communication Department in Dar Al-Hekma University.
Peters exhibited her project in the exhibition along with her fellow faculty and staff. Her statement that represents her work titled “Why Won’t You Hear Me?” is as following, “my work addresses the issue of people’s inability to communicate, whether it is because of language issues, cultural differences, disabilities, or just because we don’t want to listen. The piece talks about repetitive, maybe even desperate attempts to be heard. The piece is based on research into the common issue of miscommunication or not being able to communicate. Conversations with people hard of hearing, foreigners with language difficulties, victims of bullying and physical or psychological abuse, as well as children have contributed to this piece.”
In Dar Al-Hekma, Peters displayed a selection of 16 one-of-a-kind prints from a series that originally consisted of 100 individually framed unique monotypes of an ear with a question stamped beneath in red ink. The piece was created to raise money for a women’s shelter in Munich, Germany.
Another artist in the exhibition Wed Abduljawad, lecturer in the Visual Communication Department in Dar Al-Hekma University, shared her artistic statement about her work as following. “The images I exhibited are of Al-Manama, Bahrain as part of a project titled “Recreational Purpose”, which was exhibited in 2014 in the National Museum of Bahrain in Al-Manama and will tour the Middle East. What I expected to see during my visit, based on my memory of Manama, was a city competing for modernism like other major cities in the Gulf. I was surprised to find out that the Kingdom of Bahrain, while advancing their architectural layout, was also maintaining its heritage by restoring and preserving Manama’s historical landmarks. The imagery produced for this project depicts the contrast and harmony of modern and older architecture stemming from different influences. As the city continues to grow and build, Bahrain equally invests in renovating and maintaining older parts of the city. These photos are a glimpse into the diversity of Manama’s architecture and the country’s effort to move towards a new era, while enlightening a history ingrained in its people.”
“The style I used “The Pin-Hole Camera” is a way of showing the contrast of how history and modernism can coexist”, she added.
Yet another artist, Nada Zaidan, lecturer in the Visual Communication Department, presented her work titled The Arabian “EVE-alution”. Zaidan explained her piece by saying “there are many misconceptions held by the western world about the issues faced by women in the Arab world especially the women of Saudi Arabia. The dominant prevailing imagery portrayed by the western media is that of veiled, homebound, uneducated women who need help to take the first steps toward emancipation. Those women undoubtedly exist, yet so do highly educated, professional women, who are liberated in their own minds and successful in their own fields.
Through the mural timeline, this thesis project is intended to enhance the image of Saudi Arabian women through highlighting pioneer Saudi female achievers who created the Arabian “EVE-alution”. The thesis examined the major political, social and economic changes that lead to this evolution over the past 77 years. Starting with the formation of the country in 1932 and ending with the present day of 2009.”
The artist Colleen Ellis, an assistance professor in the Visual Communication Department in Dar Al-Hekma University, displayed her art in the exhibition as well. “This composition represents 180 photographs selected from nearly one thousand taken in Saudi Arabia and the United States from March to September, 2015. They are snapshots shot with a smart phone, representing fleeting moments of light, place, and movement, reflecting another type of landscape and portraiture,” said Ellis.
Then she added, “some images were inspired by the light and texture of Al-Baha, Saudi Arabia. As the viewer goes through the rows time changes, as the images are arranged chronologically. Further the composition is set up to be read moving left-to-right on one row and right-to-left on the next. The journey of looking takes the viewer from Al-Baha to Jeddah, to Cape Cod, the Berkshires (western Massachusetts), Cambridge, New York City, New Hampshire, Boston, Rome, back to Jeddah, then to California, and concluding in Jeddah. Some moments reflect several snapshots, while others depict one.”
The images are printed in small sizes, and informally tacked using straight pins to suggest the preciousness and brevity of our moments, according to the artist. They also reflect how light, color, texture, and sense of atmosphere changes as we move through space and time.
Finally, Sara Albadi, a lecturer in Dar Al-Hekma said “the main substance of this painting is to illustrate a twist of style found in Mughal art mixed with the style of the Safavids as described and depicted by historians and artists. Islamic manuscripts have been associated with an extraordinarily well-known religious and political monument from the time of Adam. However, the lack of written information from Arab, Muslim or Western writers, was one of many reasons behind my interest in studying them. The painting I exhibited is titled “’Canvascript’ folio 1 Recto” to enforce this twist of Mughal and Safayid art with the title as well. The painting is based on a two dimensional representation, following the traditional Islamic manuscripts. The colors and the gold leaf are a combination of vivid and warm colors, which are derived from both cultures, the Mughals and Safavids.”