Saudi artist Maha al-Kelabi specializes in painting horses with emphasis on the concepts of wildness and rebellion. The colors she uses range from dark to faint, and the horses she depicts are wayward, attempting to fly towards the light.
Born and educated in Riyadh, al-Kelabi discovered her personal niche in life in the realm of fine arts and painting. Her foray into the field was at the school of Fine Arts at Riyadh University, and al-Kelabi faced many challenges throughout her journey to become a painter.
“When I was young, many things such as nature, rocks, and waterfall captivated me, especially in the evening,” she said.
Al-Kelabi’s paintings reflect the conflicts in her mind, manifested by accelerated brushstrokes which depict a battle of colors, eventually one color claiming victory, leaving the rest defeated.
“I used to draw my paintings in acrylic color, I really enjoyed it. I steer off the course of my painting concept. I am so pleased with the fast movements of my brush strokes which generate many ideas,” she said.
Maha al-Kelabi does not separate her paintings from her existence as a woman, which is symbolized by the horse, seen as the focal subject of her artwork.
“A woman is just like a horse, full of energy. If you want to pamper it, you give it what it likes. In my imagination, there is always a tree which haunts me while I am painting. I hope a man can always immerse himself in the spiritual world. It is more charming.”