‘Art makes you travel and discover unreal things’

Jude Omar
(Photos: Handouts from Jude Omar Alkhateeb)
AMMAN — Jude Omar Alkhateeb discovered her love for art as a child, when she created a fort in her room, which was the canvas of her imaginary world.
Originating from Nablus, Palestine, she grew up in Jordan, where she studied engineering, in 2015, “but my dream was to study fine arts in Italy.”

"Engineering was my father's dream, so I did not feel connected to it. It was five and a half years of suffering, where I was always drawing in my notebooks," said Alkhateeb.

(Photos: Handouts from Jude Omar Alkhateeb)

One of the reasons she stayed at the German Jordanian University was to have the opportunity to live abroad, where she found her place as an artist.

"Art in Jordan is something that is still not well viewed as a career, so I had to take a chance on engineering, and pharmaceutical and chemical engineering allowed me to explore different cultures in Germany. Without realizing it, I was doing my art again, I was inspired again,” said Alkhateeb who does not “want to live a normal life in Jordan, to have a job I do not appreciate, and a basic salary just because this is what everyone does here.”

It can be terrifying to go against what is established and to keep fighting for that world full of emotions that branches out into art, and for this young artist, giving life to her creations is challenging.

(Photos: Handouts from Jude Omar Alkhateeb)

"I am crushed by the idea of not being as good as I visualize it, but in reality, nothing can be as you imagine it; the transcription of a feeling or a dream into something tangible is modified in the mortality of the piece," said Alkhateeb.
The artist had no formal art education, she learned by intuition. She got inspiration while living in Germany: "I remember the expression on people's faces, it was simply beautiful, and the nature around me delighted me."

She started to discover the world, different cultures, and to feel more motivated by all the new things she encountered. At the same time, "I was free to be myself,” she said.

She likes to go gradually and have the opportunity to explore all her feelings during the creation of the pieces.

(Photos: Majo Tielve/Jordan News)

"Sometimes it can take me months to finalize a work. I want to rest and come back with new ideas or improve my technique. I am motivated by the things I read and glimpse at, it is all about how they make me feel."

One of the paintings she is proud of is "The Fume of Sighs". She began this piece in 2019, inspired by the mysticism of the film noir and the depth of its characters, and created a portrait that would “tell the story of a desire that destroys”. Her work is a fusion of techniques that leaves realism behind and uses a narrative born of the easiness of the moment.

"I love using elements that are anomalous to painting, giving them a new reality. These strange components make me relate more to my art," said Alkhateeb.

(Photos: Majo Tielve/Jordan News)

She eventually found herself attracted to street art, which “belongs to everyone and sends a powerful message to society".

After leaving her first mark in street art in Salt Children's Park, she continued on this path.

"I sent a text message to Suhaib Attar (a street and graffiti artist from Amman), and he told me to join [artists] to do a mural at a school in Zarqa. I was afraid of doing something wrong, but they taught me that everything can be fixed, so that was my first time with spray paint," said Alkhateeb.

Her first mural was at the Baladak festival in 2020.

“At first, I was terrified, and then I discovered it was not that complex. I finished it in three days with the help of my friend Moutaz Said," said the artist.

(Photos: Majo Tielve/Jordan News)

Alkhateeb learns from her mistakes. "I am not an expert in human anatomy, and I want to be better every day. I want to surround myself with people who inspire me, I want to learn a lot about things that are alien to my essence and understand the world through shapes and colors," said the artist who is “proud that I have not abandoned my dreams” and who decided to make art “because it is the best feeling you can have; art makes you travel and discover unreal things".

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