Beauty is the Beast
The famous camels artwork by Saudi artist Fahad Al-Naymah.
Fahad Al-Naymah is the renowned Saudi artist who took the ‘stereotypical’ association of Saudi Arabia with camels to a new level of creativity, with his drawn colorful mischievous camel becoming a kind of cultural ambassador for a diverse nation. Born and raised in Dourma, a small region west of Riyadh, Al-Naymah grew up in what some would consider a stereotypical Saudi Bedouin experience, surrounded by camels
and horses, sheep and palm trees, and sand as far as the eye can see. Still, he had a less than stereotypical outlook on the world around him. He saw art in everything. From a young age, Fahad expressed himself through drawing, painting and art in general. “Early on, I would draw the typical things I saw around me, just as they were and as realistically as I could capture them. Palm trees, camels, sheep, and any person that was willing
to be a subject,” he told Ithraeyat in an interview. After school, he realized that pursuing a professional career in art would be the harder choice and the path less travelled, but he felt it was the only authentic choice for him, and that made all the difference. He studied relentlessly, attended shows and workshops, participated in whatever capacity he could, and always honed and crafted his skill. Fahad ran through the gamut of art styles, cutting his proverbial teeth on
Renaissance art, copying and mimicking it over and over. Soon after he adopted Impressionism and especially Abstraction. “I was deeply influenced by Picasso and Van Gogh. They were my inspiration for many pieces.” “Later on, I realized I wanted to switch to a more modern style. I wanted to be less literal and more abstract. To apply modern styles to traditional topics/ subjects,” he said.
where he captures the essence of camels while abstracting them out as much as he can. The results speak for themselves as the images jump into focus when you least expect it. Variations of his signature camels are hanging on the office and home walls of diplomats and officials who wanted something symbolic of Saudi Arabia, yet unique and atypical of a regular camel image. It is refreshing and inspiring to see something as stereotypical about Saudi as the camel presented in the most unexpectedly beautiful styles, and hopefully we can expect more to come from incredible local talents such as Al-Naymah. “The state of art in Saudi has been accelerating rapidly in recent years. Local talents have a lot more support, which means local audiences have a lot more to look forward to.”