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Saturday, Feb 24, 2024

For Saudi artist Abeer Al-Zaaied, women’s issues remain a powerful source of inspiration

For Saudi artist Abeer Al-Zaaied, women’s issues remain a powerful source of inspiration

Most of the works in Saudi artist Abeer Al-Zaaied’s latest set of paintings feature a woman with no visible facial features and a mysterious companion, a hoopoe bird.

The hoopoe is revered in Islam and is mentioned in the Qur’an.

Al-Zaaied told Arab News: “I wanted to talk about the meaning of the hoopoe 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 enigmatic, employing dark and delicate hues to portray the changing emotions of women, from confusion to hope and faith.

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 recognized her talent with the help of her family at a young age, and enrolled in art classes to polish her skills.


The women are depicted in traditional clothing and accessories from the south of the Kingdom.

Al-Zaaied added: “I attempt to use the most exact and realistic details, as well as the best technique that supports the work’s concept, which are all part of my artistic expression.”

She recognized her talent with the help of her family at a young age, and enrolled in art classes to polish her skills.

Al-Zaaied took part in a group exhibition in Al-Baha in 2010 and her work has been showcased at many events organized by the Ministry of Culture. The Janadriyah Festival and Souk Okaz have displayed her art.

One of her favorite pieces is “Women to Drive,” which was featured at Riyadh’s Errm Art Gallery at an exhibition celebrating the third anniversary of women in leadership in Saudi Arabia.

She said: “The motivation for it goes beyond just giving women this official and explicit privilege.

“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.”

One of Al-Zaaied’s favorite pieces is “Women to Drive,” which was showcased at Riyadh's Errm Art Gallery at the exhibition celebrating the third anniversary of women in leadership in Saudi Arabia.


Al-Zaaied believes that being an artist in the KIngdom is now being encouraged.

She added: “There were many difficulties, certainly before the growth [in the arts] we are experiencing now.

“The situation inevitably changed for the better after the establishment of the Ministry of Culture and its affiliated bodies that support all sectors of arts and culture, and the interest of MBS in supporting art and artists through the establishment of the Misk Art Institute.

“New laws also support and encourage Saudi artists and reflect and preserve the local identity and culture.”

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