That I missed the official opening of the exhibition ‘Shadows of Dust’ of the Saudi Arabia artist Mahdih Ali Al – Talib in the Gallery of the Omani Society for Fine Arts in Salalah, was a pity. During openings you meet lot of friends to discuss and share opinions. At the other hand this expo was somehow one I better visited alone.
When entering the Gallery, I was surprised to see so many works, 50 in total, full of vibrant colours and mostly female portraits, from young girls, teenagers till adult women. Suddenly I felt beside happiness also a little sadness in the works. When I asked Mahdih Ali Al-Talib about this, I was not surprised that she underlined my feeling. “During the time I was working on the portraits, my sister passed away and my mother’s health worsened. Shadows of dust troubled my mind. By working on the portraits I could throw the shadows of dust away. When I draw or paint or sculpture I forget the world around me, I create ideas, my creativity nestles between me and the situation I have to deal with. You could say that I healed myself. Art in general is a kind of healing. I draw every day. “ In May, when the mosque in Al Qudaih in Saudi Arabia, in the area she lives, was attacked by a suicide bombing during midday Friday Prayer, she was first shocked and then very sad. The painting she made of a woman with a sad face and in black colours expressed what she felt. In the meanwhile by putting some golden ornament, symbolic for a mosque, she took again shadows of dust away and expressed also the hope that peace will survive.
Mahdih is an autodidact, who started as a teenager to be interested in drawing and painting. “Especially my father, who liked to make detailed drawings of the date trees in the area he lived, inspired me.” After ten years Mahdih started her portraits, focussed on women, from childhood, teenagers till adults. Soon sculpturing and printing followed. In 2001 Mahdih Ali Al-Talib not only established her name in Saudi Arabia, she developed her own technique, ‘her’ style. In the meanwhile she made 2500 works. ‘Shadows of Dust’ is her first exhibition and visit to Oman.