Continuing art through generations

zara arts
(Photos: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
A cup with colors blending through the brushstrokes, a sprawling Grecian city, and graceful ballerina: these were the subjects of three paintings displayed by 18-year-old Wasan Halaseh at Zara Center Gallery in Amman on Saturday. اضافة اعلان

“I express what I love by painting, and my inner feelings motivate me to paint,” Halaseh said.

Meanwhile, a much younger budding artist was also displaying her works at the gallery: seven-year-old Karen Saraf presented four pieces of art composed with felt-tip markers and watercolors. “I feel happy when I draw,” said Saraf, explaining that her favorite subjects are cacti and people.

The event on Saturday was a joint show combining the artworks of 20 young students of Jordanian artist Juman Nimri in the annual Studio Beit Al Weibdeh exhibit, and those of an older group of 11 adults who were once Nimri’s students, in a second exhibit titled “Tawassul”.

“I feel like I’m creating a new group of emerging artists,” Nimri told Jordan News.

Keeping in touch
The joint exhibition aimed to reflect the preservation of art through generations, Nimri said. Through observing their predecessors who grew up and now take part in the Tawassul exhibition, the Studio Beit Al Weibdeh children can learn how to continue their pursuit of art as they grow.

The artists presenting their works in the Tawassul exhibit, in its second year, were students at Studio Beit Al Weibdeh in 2008, Nimri said. When they grew up and began their university studies, they stopped attending the art studio, but kept in touch with Nimri. Together, the teacher and her students came up with the idea of establishing an ongoing connection by creating the exhibit.

“Tawassul is how my students keep in touch with me,” the artist said.

“It started when my students wanted to improve their artistic talents,” Nimri explained. “As their talents develop, they are able to continue showing their artwork in this separate exhibit connected to the Studio Beit Al Weibdeh exhibit.”

“The importance of the exhibition is the continuity,” she said.

Budding artists
Jordan News interviewed the young troupe of artists at Studio Beit Al Weibdeh about their exhibit.

Reine Afram, 9, started creating art when she was five years old. She uses wooden colored pencils and watercolors. Afram displayed nine pieces of art at the Studio Beit Al Weibdeh exhibition. 

“I was so overjoyed when I first started painting,” Afram said. “I love to draw plants.”

 Ten-year-old Daniel Nimri started painting when he was nine. He uses acrylic paints, and he displayed three paintings showing nature scenes.

 “I have painted before, but this time was the best,” he said.

‘Invaluable lessons’
From the Tawassul exhibit, Jordan News spoke with Jude Zawaideh, 21, a Jordanian fine artist who spends her time between Amman and Florida, while studying for a business of arts degree at Ringling College in Sarasota, Florida. 

Zawaideh started drawing with Studio Beit Al Weibdeh in 2011 when she was 10 years old, but she had already been painting since the age of two. “I joined Studio Beit Al Weibdeh to develop the potential I had, and I learned invaluable lessons along the way,” she said.

By delving into her own experiences, Zawaideh explores the diversity of reality and human awareness in mysterious artistic compositions. Her most recent series concentrated on the connection between the self and the body as it relates to aging.

“As humans we are ever-changing, we evolve and grow through time. Throughout my self-portraits, I have been able to explore these versions of myself that have existed through time,” Zawaideh explained.

The young artist displayed four artworks in the Tawassul exhibit. Her chosen medium is oil paint.
“It’s a learning process, and I enjoy the character of the medium as it enhances my intentionality with my work. I also tend to work on larger-scale canvases to take up physical space in my viewers’ reality,” she said. 

Time and place
Maria Farkouh, 25, has been painting since she was 12 years old. She created her two exhibit pieces using acrylic on canvas. The first piece, she explained, attempts to portray the relationship of the sun and time. “Time is linked to movement, and time goes on while the sun moves,” Farkouh said.

Her second work of art shows the beauty of the moon and its nearness to earth. “We also see it as large and think that it is larger than the sun because of its proximity, but it is the opposite,” she reflected.

Celine Nino, 25, who works in the sustainable development field, started painting when she was 10. In the Tawassul exhibit, she displayed two artworks using different mediums: acrylic and photography. She explained to Jordan News that she focuses her work on her personality, origins, and identity.

Both of Nino’s pieces depicted Amman Citadel, one of the city’s oldest landmarks. “I wanted to reflect Amman as it is, with its beautiful and distinctive diversity,” she said.
In one of the artworks, a photograph of Amman Citadel, she overlaid the image with poetry about home. “The homeland is not just a piece of land, it is made up of people and communities affected by many circumstances,” she explained.

Seasons of life
Tara Abboud, 21, displayed one piece of art, an acrylic recreation of Gustave Klimt’s painting The Kiss. 

“I saw the painting The Kiss when I was in Vienna; it is like a landmark there. I wanted to have one like it, so I recreated it,” Abboud explained.

Nawal Faouri recently picked up painting for the first time, and the Tawassul exhibition is her first opportunity to display her works to the public. Nimri, she reflected, has supported her in her artistic process by teaching her drawing techniques.

 “Juman… not only teaches drawing, but also gives attention to the psychological aspect, personality, and reactions of the person,” the artist said.

Faouri used two mediums, pencil and acrylic, and displayed four artworks at the event. 

Jordan News also spoke with Rama Sabanekh, 24, who has been painting since she was 12 years old. At the exhibit, she displayed four artworks as a series using canvas and acrylic. These pieces represent the goodbye moments she experienced with her friends when she left to study in another city. During these “sensitive and emotional” moments, she took pictures with her friends, and later turned these pictures into paintings.

“These artworks represent the closure of a season of my life,” Sabanekh said. “I wanted to keep these moments as something tangible, so I froze them in these paintings.”

The Tawassul artists started painting and drawing as young children, she said, reflecting on her development as an artist. “But after the transition of age and my life, I came to see art differently as the works became more mature and the choice of topics and ideas changed.”

“There is a deeper appreciation and understanding for art, and a desire for continuity.”

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