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Women’s Issues Is Where Saudi Artist Abeer Al-Zaaied Draws Her Inspiration

Have you heard of the Hoopoe bird? It is a revered bird in Islam and is cited in the Qur’an. Saudi artist Abeer Al-Zaaied has recently been drawing inspiration from the bird and featuring it in many of her paintings, alongside images of women.

In an interview with Arab News, she talks about the rationale behind her work, saying “I wanted to talk about the meaning of the hope in this set. How can we reiterate the value of these manners and their representation in the etiquette that the hoopoe had and portrayed when it was permitted to talk?”

Her work is very mysterious, as the audience first cannot tell what is going on. Al-Zaaied features women shown in traditional clothes and accessories that hail from the South of Saudi Arabia. The work is engulfed with dark colors such as blue and grey dominating the painting, then contrasting with lighter hues. The motif of the Hoopoe bird itself is to delve into the challenges that women face in society.

She added: “Women are a great source of inspiration, and I like to address their ideas and subjects in my work. As an artist I aim to express a part of myself and constantly focus on women and issues that affect them.”

Al-Zaaied talks about how she uses realistic details as much as possible, in addition to the best techniques that complement her concept and artistic expression. Her work has been depicted in many events all over the kingdom including Al-Baha, The Janadriyah Festival and Souk Okaz.

One of the pieces she holds close to her heart is “Women to Drive,” which was showcased at Riyadh’s Errm Art Gallery. The exhibition held was to honor the third anniversary of women in leadership in the kingdom.

“The motivation for it goes beyond just giving women this official and explicit privilege,” Al-Zaaied explains. “It is significant because it relates to a time when Saudi Arabia witnessed reforms for women’s rights at all levels and in all fields, which we today take pride in and always remember.”

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