MEET THE ARTIST
Although a doctor of medicine and not the arts, Ahlam has always had an interest in the humanities. Looking at the world through an analytical lens and a love of colours, she began to see the power of expression through painting. Her true artistic journey started in 2011, working with oil and acrylic, she eventually participated in several local exhibitions in her hometown of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and then expanded to other art hubs in the region.
Society and the self are common sources of inspiration with the exploration of the individual versus the collective identity being a core focus of her art. Her style is influenced by post-impressionist and avant-garde movements, continuously experimenting with ideas, methods and uses of media.
Firmly believing in art with a message; the goal of her work is creating pieces that speak with and engage the audience.
My artwork takes a critical view of inherited beliefs and convictions regarding individual versus the collective identity, and the varying relationships between genders in Saudi Arabia. Having engaged in a broad range of subjects, the goal of my work is to trigger mindful self-analyses and reflection on who we are, and who we want to be. Another theme in my work is that of isolation or alienation; what does it mean to fit in? And is it really worth it?
I get inspired by simple things in my surroundings. My projects are like experiments, continuously evolving, between discoveries, adjustments and self-reflections. During my research and production new areas of interest arise and lead to the next body of work.
While I use a variety of materials and processes in each project my methodology is consistent. The subject matter of each body of work determines the materials and the forms of the work. Each project often consists of multiple works, often in a range of different media, grouped around specific themes and meanings.
Born 1962 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where she lives and works, Ahlam Alshedoukhy graduated from King Saud University in 1989 with a bachelor degree in medicine and surgery. She was determined to achieve an internationally recognized degree in the field of medicine. In 2000 she accomplished this, and acquired a fellowship degree specializing in the field of pathology from the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Her artistic journey began with this specialization, as she was fascinated by the complexity and beauty of the cells of the human body. The microscope became her first artistic tool allowing Ahlam to see into the inner universe of science and the human body. She focused on her medical career, becoming a consultant pathologist and an assistant professor for more than 18 years.
Through her experience as a physician, she has come to appreciate the presence of art in science – the significance of the shapes and forms of the human cells, the detailed and delicate technique needed to unravel their mystery, and the humanity without which no science would exist. While through her experience as an artist she discovered the presence of science in art – the layers of details, the complexity of existence, the beauty that is life, and the humanity without which art would have purpose; the common ground where the two finally meet.
It wasn’t until after more than 25 years of studying and practicing medicine that she decided to independently educate herself in art and pursue a focused approach. She now paints daily and is involved in the local and international art scenes. Her first exhibition was in the year 2015, since then she participated in several group exhibitions in her hometown of Riyadh, and then in Jeddah, Dubai, Hong Kong for the Asia Contemporary Art Show, and in Paris for Art Shopping to the Carrousel du Louvre. In 2018 she came second runner up in the category of International Artist Award at World Art Dubai in recognition of her talent. Over this short period of time she had three solo exhibitions with great success.