ARTIST STATEMENT/ POSTCARD PROJECT OF THE HOUSE OF WORLD CULTURES 2007
´Loss of identity, alienation, death, time and memory are realities and concepts that preoccupy me in my life and work.
Since the beginning of time humanity has pondered its existence. The ancient Nabateans believed that there is no boundary between the world of the living and the world of the dead. In Petra, amid rugged mountains, temples, tombs and caves, I too, ask myself
“Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?”
The rocks of Petra, witnesses of immemorial time, light, symbol of eternal life and water at the origin of creation, reveal to me another reality, a world in which beauty prevails.´
Born in Jerusalem in 1944, Suha Shoman first studied law in Lebanon and Paris, but after meeting the Jordanian painter Faherlnisse Zeiddann, she enrolled at the Institute of Fine Arts in 1977 and moved off in a new direction.
In 1986 she travelled for the first time to Petra, the legendary city of the Nabataeans. Since then, she has spent several months a year in this abandoned city carved out of the rock. Petra and the surrounding rocky landscape in the south of Jordan have influenced all her work. ‘Everyone has a place of refuge somewhere,’ she says. ‘In my case this is Petra, where I feel at home and apart.’ It is also the source of her inspiration – the ‘Petra of our forefathers, of space unbounded, of time beyond measure, of eternity manifested, of our footprints deeply engraved in rock, of a tale which has yet to be told’ (Suha Shoman, cited in www.universes-in-universe.org
The Petra pictures show her artistic development, a path leading from faithful realism to abstract horizontal strips of colour and finally to variations on just a single hue. Her large-scale pictures and video-installations explore the town and focus on spirituality, memory, the past, the reflection of the ego in its material surroundings and the search for spiritual oneness with oneself and one’s milieu.
Shoman’s works have been shown in a series of solo exhibitions and in group exhibitions in Arab countries, Europe and the USA and are permanently on show in museums all round the world.
She is not only a notable artist but also a founder of the art centre Darat el Funun (House of Arts) in Amman. The centre’s aim is to further the visual arts throughout the Arab world. She is an honorary member of the Sakakini General Assembly and has received the French National Order of the Arts for her work and her efforts on behalf of Jordanian art.
Suha Shoman lives and works in Amman, Jordan.