July 17th 2018 – One of Amman’s first gallery establishments, Foresight32 Art Gallery witnesses a one of a kind exhibition where 6 women artists from different cultural backgrounds gather to showcase a series of portrait-themed creations.  Jordan, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Egypt, and USA came to meet in a dialogue of the lives of these heroines; documenting elevations and fluctuations of phases through their eyes.

With great honour, artmejournal had the pleasant chance of speaking to two of the participating artists based in Amman and widely known for their graceful style of work, Dina Fawakhiri and Ghalia Barghouthi.

Fawakhiri mastered the art of emotional expression through her series “Waiting”. The three digital portraits talk about a deep sense of longing in different situational contexts and degrees. As her rationale describes, Waiting frames “A series of suspended moments. A portrait of shadows trapped in time.”

Dina Fawakhiri, Waiting series, 2018

What is the main idea behind this series? Is there a certain message you want to deliver?

“When I was called for Her by Her, the main idea was for women artists to draw women portraits. When it comes to me doing portraits, the only woman portrait that I’m comfortable dealing with is my own, because when it comes naturally I stop focusing on the features and start focusing more on the emotion I’m trying to capture. I decided to do these three digital pieces called Waiting. I documented myself waiting for an entire day, waiting for appointments, waiting for a taxi cab, a friend. Another layer of Waiting are the other four pieces I made with charcoal, and I feel like they bring about longing.”

Are the portraits based off one particular experience or muse?

“I always feel like I am longing for something, but I don’t know what the thing is, so I feel like it’s a longing for longing. It’s a general feeling that’s been coming to me for several years. I don’t think there’s a particular person I’m inspired by, I think I’m inspired by flowers and birds.”

Ghalia Barghouthi, 2018

Ghalia Barghouthi; the founder of Gaia and Floyd and co-founder of The Studio put up a diverse collection of acrylic faces immersed in popping tones and a mixture of feelings throughout specified time frames. She described the flow of her work as a visual representation of a certain phase in her life, and she talked about her choice of portraits for Her By Her as something that spoke of the last two years of her life. Her series showed a variety of feminine figures with mellowness, joy and peace, all portrayed in a sequence as a spectator observes one painting and sculpture after the other.

Gill Button, 2018

The exhibition also included the works of Gill Button, a British artist whose portraits mostly focused on eyes and the boldness of feeling that one could acquire through the vision of a woman. US expressionist Rebecca Russo showed a beautiful group of portraits, filled with all types of textures and creation mediums through thick and thin strokes of paint, pen and wax. Iman Ali Khaled, a Iraqi woman who immigrated to the Netherlands in her youth, offered a set of two paintings with deep, earthy colours; translating the resilience and calm strength held by women. Last but definitely not least, Egyptian artist Shalabiah Ibrahim reflected her image of the Middle Eastern woman through pastels, smiles, and unorthodox postures of women.

Rebecca Russo, 2018

As the event came to a close, Suad Issawi; founder of Foresight32, the exhibition’s venue, talked to us about the reason she was so passionate about making portraits the theme of this manifestation.

“I’m extremely into the portrait style of art. If you visit my home, you’d notice a lot of faces hung on the walls. I feel like portraits show the persona’s personality and is strong in terms of showing one’s emotions.”

She also continued to explain her support for women empowerment and mesmerizingly talked about the background of Shalabiah Ibrahim by clarifying her style.

“She was an Egyptian country girl who was married to Natheer Nab’aa, an educated college student whom she was deeply influenced by. After her experience with him, she started painting her imaginations and visions rooting from her culture, nature, and the sky.”

Shalabiah Ibrahim, untitled (image taken by the artmejournal team)

Her by Her is a one-of-its-kind exposition in Amman. It sheds light on the role of the women surrounding us in society through aesthetic story-telling by the artists involved. For interested readers, Her By Her runs through August and takes place at Foresight32 Gallery in Um Utheina, Amman.

Images courtesy of the artists, except where indicated.