Raheef an art exhibition about empowered women

Left - Shahed Altheeb, Right - Deema Dababseh, their respective pictures behind them
Shahed Altheeb (Left) and Deema Dababseh pose with their respective artwork. (Photos: Layan Taifour/Jordan News)
The Institute of Fine Arts hosted an art exhibition by artists Deema Dababseh and Shahed Altheeb. Titled Raheef, the exhibition displayed works of art carrying a female-empowerment message. اضافة اعلان

The institute itself, funded by the Ministry of Culture, offers free courses in the arts, ranging from music and drama to painting and drawing, taught by reputable artists and instructors.

Dababseh, 25, is a dentist currently working in a private clinic in Amman, as well as a research assistant at the Jordan University Hospital. She has always been passionate about painting and the arts, but due to the nature of her studies and work, she had almost no time to pursue her dream. In the very little free time she had while at university, she still managed to paint.

This year, Dababseh decided that it was never too late to do what she loves, and enrolled in the Institute of Fine Arts. She was mentored by Omar Atiyat, who, she says, has been the most influential person in her “artistic awakening”.

“I had always dreamt of hosting my own art exhibition, but I never thought it would be so soon. Atiyat has really fostered my talent and in a very short period of time made me more than competent to do so,” Dababseh said.

Shahed Altheeb is a resident padodontist. She said she has been infatuated with art ever since she could hold a pencil. Her talent grew when she started her courses at the Institute of Fine Arts, under Atiyat’s supervision as well.

She is greatly focused on nature and surrealist paintings; she loves “the asymmetry of it, and loose rules surrounding making art”.

Unnamed Piece by Deema Dababseh

Altheeb is more focused on beauty in her pieces, rather than on trying to force a perception of depth and meaning onto her paintings.

“It is true, though, that I do not necessarily always paint and try to make it deep. Some of my art pieces exist because I find the subject matter beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, which in itself tells a story.”

Themes of Raheef
Dababseh, who believes in the importance of women in the society, has artwork that represent female empowerment and the common struggles of women.

“It shows the darker side of what it is like to be a woman. But at the same time, there is a glimmer of hope in each piece, the silver-lining,” she said.

Altheeb said that the exhibition name, Raheef, means soft and delicate in Arabic, referring to the stereotypical feminine traits; it ties with the overarching female empowerment theme. 

UnnamedPiece by Shahed Altheeb

The inspiration behind the artworks
Dababseh says that while she respects and values the opinions and expertise of some artists, she is “rarely inspired by any”. She is far more inspired by stories or causes, and day-to-day experiences, than a specific artist or painter.

“I am influenced by whatever I am going through in life, I feel that every painting is a reflection of my mood and my frame of mind while painting that piece.”

Altheeb, on the other hand, says she is mostly inspired by the art of Hieronymus Bosch, a Renaissance Dutch/Netherlandish painter, whose art contains mainly fantastical illustrations of religious concepts and narratives.

Below are some of the works by the two artists:

The Brides by Deema Dababseh
Dababseh’s The Brides is a masterpiece. She considers it a very important piece, one of her favorites. The growing number of underage marriages in the Arab world drove her to create the painting, which, she hopes, will raise awareness for this issue.

Unnamed picture by Shahed Altheeb
Unnamed by Deema Dababseh
Dababseh finds the “unnamed” portrait of a woman special.

“The artistic challenge of this piece makes it my favorite. Artistically and professionally speaking, mixing these colours together, as well as the transparency of the drape on her, trying to tie it all together and make it cohesive, all of that is very difficult to paint,” she said.

Woman of Candles by Shahed Altheeb
Altheeb says her Woman of Candles is the representation of many working women in Jordan who hope to be able to continue living and providing for their families, friends, and themselves.

Unnamed by Shahed Altheeb

Woman of candels by Shahed Altheeb

Altheeb said she painted the unnamed still life during her struggle with COVID-19. The painting, she said, shows “the brightness of the outside world from a perspective of someone who has been quarantined for a long time”.

It was, according to her, hope that she will be able to see that brightness again that made her push through.

Read more Culture and Arts
Jordan News