Sanguine Expectations

Suhair Sibai‘s “Melancholy Sweetness” Exhibition.

10 January 2013 – 6 March 2013

Ultracrepidarianism. Definition:  is the habit of giving opinions and advice on matters outside of one’s knowledge (1819).

I will NOT try to be an um .. Ultracrepidarianist .. As I write this entry:).

BUT.. I’ll admit I was in over my head with this particular topic.

Having received an invite and heard a lot about the Lahd Gallery, I couldn’t resist the offer to take my ignorant self over.

A lot has been written about art coming out of the Gulf.. Most of which I seem to have been unaware about or to have somehow missed (I must be too busy spending my time scoffing croissants).

A brief YouTube search reveals that one could potentially get contortuplicated (twisted) by getting obsessed with the similarities (or dissimilarities) to Italian art…. Or by getting obsessed with the complex historical symbols and origins (see previous Lahd entries on Arabic calligraphy..

Thankfully, I didn’t find any of it too much. I left feeling refreshed, intrigued, and mesmerized.

Infact, this gallery is actually a sophisticated way to pamper oneself, and far outreaches any pleasure one could receive from the Spa, Sex and the City, playing with a Weener dog (see below), or any other form of self-indulgence one may spend one’s time on.

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On a serious note. If you want to enter into a world where you truly feel pampered and beautiful, set aside an afternoon to go see Suhair Sibai’s exhibition at the Lahd Gallery.

The paintings beg you in and urge you to try to feel or imagine what the women could be feeling.. Or to imagine how you could feel in a similar situation. They all have a voice.

The work is shown from an individualistic point of view and thus one is able to focus on the individual in the painting, and explore one’s sense of self.

I would usually find this kind of thing far too much effort, but in this case it was such a pleasure and a unique journey. I found all of the paintings to be so beautiful and heroin-like that I let my imagination run wild….

I found myself falling victim to Sibai’s clever use of her resources.
Sibai is a master of bold powerful visuals and contrasting melancholic narratives.

I purposely went in with a veil of ignorance.. I.e. a  neutral moral starting position as described by the American Philosopher and one of my favourites : Mr. John Rawls.

It was my first experience with anything like this in my life. I went in without any expectations and a clear mind.. It didn’t take long for my mind to be bombarded with thoughts and opinions as the paintings came to life… See below for my thoughts, Sibai’s titles, and obviously some of the paintings. Enjoy!

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I have no expertise in this area, so my ideas are are purely as an outsider. Here goes my thoughts as I a whirlwinded around the exhibition with a wave of ideas, and my silly i-phone camera:


Changes by Suhair Sibai



No Fear by Suhair Sibai. Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas.



Within by Suhair Sibai



The Queen. Suhair Sibai.
Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas. 150 x 120 cm


The Queen. Suhair Sibai.



Girl and a Monkey. Suhair Sibai. Acrylic on Canvas. 150 cm x 120 cm.



Girl and a Monkey. Suhair Sibai. Acrylic on Canvas. 150 cm x 120 cm.



Damascus Queen #1. Suhair Sibai. Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas. 150 cm x 120 cm.


Damascus Queen #1. Suhair Sibai. Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas. 150 cm x 120 cm.
I swear I’m not touching the painting :).


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Scream by Suhair Sibai.



Wing! by: Suhair Sibai.
Is my ballet training coming into use here?!

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The word “sanguine” keeps coming to my mind. The display is very sanguine in that it is consistently applicable all four meanings of the word:

Sanguine. Definition:

1. cheerfully optimistic, hopeful, or confident: a sanguine disposition; sanguine expectations.many of the paintings could have such a look of expectations in their eyes or demeanor.
2. reddish; ruddy: a sanguine complexion. – many of the paintings had such complexions and colouring.
3.(in old physiology) having blood as the predominating humor andconsequently being ruddy-faced, cheerful, etc. some may be seen to have this kind of humor.
4. bloody; sanguinary.we all came from blood and this is somehow gently reminded throughout the display.

This is about real beauty. Not about trying to please someone else. Not about anything you can find on popular media. Just about being alive. And that is real beauty that shows in the work.

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It is a journey where one  falls victim to the unquestionable beauty. Sibai’s work exerts an energy that is totally unique.

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Aside | This entry was posted in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Sanguine Expectations

  1. RICO says:

    Amazing review!

  2. Suhair Sibai says:

    Thank you Dear Melissa for the heartfelt revue.
    With my Kindest Regards,
    -Suhair Sibai

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