Archives for category: travel

By: Sue Braunschweig

I have been watching the developments in Art in the Middle East and specifically Saudi Arabia by internet.

I remember the  day that I received my  first carpet clearly.  My now ex-husband and I were in a big and beautiful showroom in Istanbul and carpets were being flung open one on top of the next in a dizzying burst of color and pattern.   Truth be told  Jason  said that they only reason he bought me a carpet in Istanbul was because I had such a migraine. I guess he felt sorry for me. Thank God for that migraine!  I proudly carried that heavy bundle home on the plane though I was sure my arm was going to become completely disjointed from my shoulder.

In later trips to Morocco, my interest in handcrafted arts and crafts  grew as I was explosed the souks and walked into shop after shop of colorful lamps, pillows, leather goods, hexagonal wood tables with intricately painted designs, Tuareg jewelry and of course carpets.

When I was planning my trip first and only trip to Cairo, Egypt in January 2010 I had read in my trusty Thomas Cook and National Geographic guidebooks that The Museum of Islamic Art was scheduled to reopen  by the end of 2009.   They had already been renovating since 2003.  It was unfortunatley not reopened by the time of my trip.  That was a disappointment but I hope to visit it one day.

When researching my trip to Dubai last year I learned about  Art Dubai a huge international art fair held each March with participanting galleries from over thirty countries but again my dates didn’t work out. I did however buy three old Saudi bedouin silver rings from  a gallery in one of the malls.  More bedouin jewelry has since come my way by way of Ebay.

Those of you following this blog know I have a special interest in Saudi Arabia.  Since 2008  I have been following the news about the Edge of Arabia exhibit. The group of Saudi artists have exhibited in not only London, but also Berlin,Venice and Istanbul.   Just weeks ago they did  the “We have to talk” exhibit in Jeddah.

Most recently, just a day or two ago,  there was a one day exhibit of work by four female Saudi artists in Jeddah.   The exhibit was at the Hilton Hotel in Jeddah.

  • Hiyam Al-Khurdy is a Saudi artist whose work was inspired by ‘Makkah folklore and Islamic art”.  She paints in oil and uses a techique that makes them appear 3D.
  • Mariyam Sudayri paints on silk  and also exhibits  photography. In the article Sudayri reveals she is self taught.
  • Munira Abul Khail – painter
  • Wafa Hidaya – painter

Only one photo and some short descriptions of their art appeared in  I am interested to know  more about each woman. Here is a link to that article.  Please comment if you know of a book about Saudi women artist profiles or about their work, or can suggest artists or museums I should learn more about.


Carmel (2007)  is a  charming movie  directed  by Nadine Labaki and is available on Netflix with English subtitles.   The main characters work in a beauty shop in Beirut, Lebanon.   Labaki acts in the film as the shop’s owner. The characters’ romantic lives, family troubles and neighborhood are portrayed in a warm,  comic  way.  I especially loved the characters of Aunt Rose and her gentleman suitor and her sister, Lili who finds parking tickets and believes they are “love letters.”  I don’t want to say so much to ruin the plot for everyone but would love to hear what you think.  To me it’s one of those movies that remind us that even though we speak different languages women have very similiar concerns the world over.  It also has me wanting to pack my suitcase!Caramel Poster


Other movies I have enjoyed:

Sabah (2005) Muslim woman in Canada falls for a non Muslim man

Red Satin/Satin Rouge (2002) Tunisian middle age woman learns to bellydance after the death of her husband.

The Syrian Bride (2004)

Hideous Kinky (1998) a British hippie takes her daughters to Morocco for an adventure.


Have you seen others to recommend?

I have been following Zvezdana Rashkovich on twitter regularly.  She lives in a city that I adore.  Last spring I vacationed there.   I will surely tell you about it in my future posts.  For now  I will share one of my pictures and link to Zvezdana’s article:

Photo credit: Sue Braunschweig Photo is Burj al Arab Hotel