JEDDAH: The Saudi artist Rehab Zakri is carving a niche for herself in the art world by delving deep into the rich culture and identity of southern Saudi Arabia.

The artist’s impressionist works capture her passion for her heritage and have been displayed at various exhibitions, including a solo exhibition in 2020.

The 24-year-old’s art is a vibrant tapestry of colors reflecting the diverse natural landscapes of her daily life in the city of Jazan.

“Jazan, my hometown, is a treasure trove of heritage and natural wonders that stir my soul. Immersed in its rich nature, my artistic journey blossoms,” she told Arab News.

“Each brushstroke tells a story inspired by ventures with friends to coffee farms, the majestic Qahar mountains, and the serene Wadi Lajab.”

Zakris artistic journey began in childhood when her love for painting blossomed into a fully fledged passion after a teacher encouraged her to participate in a drawing competition.

Her talent shone through as she clinched first place in the Jazan region and fourth place nationally in drawing and painting competitions. This early recognition fueled her determination to pursue her artistic dreams further.

Her choice to follow the impressionist school of art stems from her desire for freedom of expression through color, steering away from precision and perfection.

Her paintings, rich in color and emotion, allow her to convey her feelings and thoughts in a visually captivating manner.

“My artistic expression thrives on the interplay of colors, weaving emotions and identity into every stroke, forging a deep connection between my art and my being,” she said.

Zakri has also created a space at home where art comes to life, hosting art gatherings and workshops, welcoming visitors to experience the beauty and identity of Jazan through her eyes.

“I established a personal sanctuary at home, where every stroke of paint breathes life into my creations. It’s a haven where I open my doors to fellow art enthusiasts,” she said.

“Welcoming visitors from afar, I offer them a glimpse into the essence and allure of Jazan. This city, ingrained in my artistic soul, finds its way into myriad brushstrokes, embodying its spirit and beauty in every painting I create.”

Her large-scale interactive artwork, titled “Generosity,” draws inspiration from Saudi culture and vividly portrays the elegance of the Najdi majlis, symbolizing the warm hospitality ingrained in Saudi society. The piece was crafted to honor the Kingdom’s Founding Day.

In her portrayal of a Jazani mountain girl, she captures the essence of the people of Fayfa and their rich cultural heritage. Fayfa village is known for its unique natural features and the warmth of its people. Nestled amid lush greenery and surrounded by stunning mountain landscapes, Fayfa has a rich biodiversity, with vibrant flora and fauna adding to its charm.

Through meticulous attention to detail, the mountain girl is depicted wearing traditional Jazani attire, adorned with a garland of roses and a straw hat and set against a backdrop of lush green. Zakri’s portrait of the girl skillfully reflects the beauty of Jazan’s natural surroundings.

Another painting, “Coffee Farms,” captures the essence of the famed coffee plantations nestled in the Bani Malik mountains of Jazan.

Having participated in various exhibitions, including her first solo exhibition supported by the Culture and Arts Association in Jazan, Zakri’s artwork has garnered widespread acclaim, with each work representing a cherished moment in time.

“The painting dearest to my heart is a portrait of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” she said. “It embodies Saudi pride and the ambitious vision reflected in his gaze toward a radiant future.”

Describing her approach to the work, she said,:“I employed my impressionist style, infusing vibrant colors and crisp lines to craft a vivid and expressive depiction exuding prominence. This artwork was acquired by the deputy governor of the Jazan region, Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz bin Mohammed bin Abdulaziz,” she said.

Her painting titled “Our Present to Our Future” symbolizes the Saudi people’s achievements in the journey to Vision 2030, depicting that dreams can come true with belief in one’s abilities.

Her advice to aspiring artists, is straightforward. “Work hard, stay committed, and stay open to new experiences,” she said. “In art, don’t be afraid to explore new things. And most importantly, enjoy the journey, even when it gets tough.”

Zakri remains enthusiastic about exploring new opportunities in the art world and has built a platform on Instagram where she displays her art and engages with the community.

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