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Summary: Kholoud Sabback leaves stories in her paintings for viewers to create at Centre Franco-A[degrees]Omanais

Photographing her abstract paintA[degrees] ings put up at the Centre FrancoA[degrees] Omanais gallery in MQ for the exhibition opening later that evening, there is a justifiable sense of pride in Kholoud Sabback. "All the paintings, except two, are my latest work," she said, walking down the gallery. The exhibition is titled 'Expressions' after one of the collections on display, which Kholoud found to be fitting as it reflects the overall theme.

She studied architecture at Alexandria University and curA[degrees] rently works as a freelance archiA[degrees] tect in Muscat. A mother of two, she moved from Iraq to Egypt and then on to Lebanon and lived in the UK for a while before making Oman her home 20 years ago. It is here that Kholoud began painting seriously around 18 years ago.

Her first exhibition in Oman was at the Omani Society for Fine Arts (OSFA) four years ago when she exhibited 'Tales from Baghdad,' a collection of pieces on childhood memories from her hometown in Iraq. Kholoud drew inspiration from domes, minarets and buildA[degrees] ings she grew up around, including pieces of traditional women sitting around drinking tea. She has now made a transition from her more impressionist exhibit at OSFA to abstracts in 'Expressions'.

"I went into abstract first out of curiosity, just to see what is abstract? And I didn't like it," Kholoud said. The style didn't make sense nor did it look good to her. She struggled with abstract art five years ago but once she began creating more pieces in this style, she started loving it. What gradually drew her to abstract art is that she could express 'anyA[degrees] thing'. She now finds abstract art to be more creative; a medium to unleash the scattered thoughts and images in her mind.

The title of one of the pieces in this show translates from Arabic to 'Chaos of Emotions'. The piece includes splashes of red, an eye, scattered symbols such as the Eye of Horus, as well as Arabic and English alphabets and numbers.

Kholoud believes that what the piece truly represents lies in the eye of the beholder. 'Expressions' also includes two large paintings inspired by the character Scheherazade from One Thousand and One Nights. Asked what she wants to say or what the expresA[degrees] sion on the faces in these two pieces mean, Kholoud said she'd rather leave the answers entirely up to the viewer to construct instead of imposing her own ideas. "You can see a story, and you see the story you like."

Back in her home in Seeb, Kholoud turns music on when she begins creating. "I do whatever I want." Kholoud creates her pieces in her 'painting room' in a home she designed herself. Earlier this year, she transformed her home into a private exhibit area where she also sold many pieces.

The art gallery is one of the ways for the Centre FrancoA[degrees] Omanais to promote learning French outside classrooms by interacting through cultural activiA[degrees] ties. Through Kholoud's exhibiA[degrees] tion, students and visitors can interact with the FrenchA[degrees]speaking community in Oman, according to Guilhem Constans, director of the centre. "We chose Kholoud because we liked what she's doing, and because she used to learn French at the centre. She is involved in the French speaking community and we never exhibitA[degrees] ed an Iraqi artist before. So we thought it was a nice opportunity to do it this time."


I went into abstract first out of curiosity, just to see what is abstract? And I didn't like it Kholoud Sabback

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Publication:The Week (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Dec 5, 2013

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