Beginning the canvas…

The days have been piling up on top of each other with interesting events taking place each day:

José and his brother, Dario, came over to my apartment and cut out some canvas shapes that will be appliquéd onto the large “Seven Women’s House Keys” canvas.

José and Dario Martinez
José and Dario Martinez

Hanan Al Khaldi and her daughter Amira drove down from Zarqa at my request so that we could meet and discuss Hanan’s contributions to the Seven Women’s House Keys canvas. Ahmad Caanan, my Palestinian artist friend, with whom I worked on projects in the 1990’s, suggested I contact Hanan. Thanks, Ahmad!

Hanan Khaldi and Amira
Amira and Hanan Al Khaldi

Hanan’s family home is in Jerusalem. Therefore, her segment of the canvas is the central upper portion. After partaking in a really bad cup of (bullion) coffee, made by me, Hanan sat at the dining room table with the canvas stretched over it and started sketching ideas for her area. Amira began sewing beads on the border – embellishing the Arabic calligraphy denoting each of the Palestinian refugee camps. After puncturing her fingers numerous times with the sewing needle, I handed Amira band-aids and decided I must buy thimbles. I don’t use thimbles myself, as they always fall off.

Hanan
Hanan Al Khaldi

Hanan Al Khaldi’s Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/hanan.khaldi.3?fref=ts

As I mentioned before, the canvas is extremely thick and almost impossible to sew through with thin, small needles. I’ve, unknowingly, developed a technique for grasping the sides of the needle so the point doesn’t puncture the end of my fingers, alleviating a lot of finger damage. Amira asked if she can accompany her mother to the art salon, which I happily agreed to. They are both a joy and I’m so glad they will both be attending.

Hanan and Amira working
Hanan and Amira working

I then went to Malas sewing shop where I bought fourteen thimbles.

Malas sewing shop, where I bought thimbles
Malas sewing shop, downtown Amman opposite the Al Husseini Mosque

Two days ago, on September 8th, I met with Muhammad Abu Aziz, an artist who was also recommended by Ahmad Caanan.

Muhammad is a well known artist and photographer who lives near downtown Amman, close to where I am. He is also a consultant for Save the Children. He conducts art projects involving Syrian refugee youth, hopefully we will be able to collaborate on an art project for refugee youth.  Muhammad recently completed an exhibition of children’s drawings that was shown in Amman and will travel to Belgium, the Netherlands and in various parts of Europe.

Muhammed Abu Aziz
Muhammed Abu Aziz

Muhammad was recently awarded a scholarship from the French Institute to create a series of paintings derived from attending gatherings at the Jabal Knowledge hookah lounge. The lounge is tucked away in a building located on the side of a long stone staircase where philosophers, poets and notable personages gather to discuss pertinent current events in the Arab world. At present, the topic is Syria, Russia and the United States government’s proposal to attack Syria. Muhammad’s paintings of the attendees have an aura of mystery, and capture the intense thoughtfulness and diversity of perception of the attendees. I don’t know if a book will be published of Muhammad’s series of paintings, but if there is one, I will buy it. If the publication of a book isn’t part and parcel of his scholarship I volunteered to help him self-publish a book. His paintings are entrancing.

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