Saudi, Mona (1945–)

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Saudi, Mona
(1945–)

Mona Saudi is a Jordanian sculptor and poet.

BIOGRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS

Name: Mona Saudi

Birth: 1945, Amman, Transjordan

Nationality: Jordanian

Education: École Supérieure des Beaux Arts, Paris, 1971

PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY:

  • 1969: Moves to Beirut; works with artistic department of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
  • 1982: Returns to Amman
  • 1987: "Spiritual Geometry" installed at the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris
  • 1993: Receives the National Award for the Arts in Jordan
  • 1996: Returns to Beirut
  • 1999: Publishes An Ocean of Dreams

PERSONAL HISTORY

Saudi (also Muna Sa'udi) was born in 1945 in Amman, Transjordan (now Jordan). She moved to Beirut in 1969 and worked with the artistic department of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Saudi graduated from the École Normale Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1971, and later worked with marble in Carrara, Italy. She went back to Beirut but returned to Amman in 1982, only to return to Beirut in 1996.

INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS

Saudi is one of the few Arab women artists to work primarily in stone, and especially to execute large-scale stone sculptures. Her sculptures have been produced in marble, granite, limestone, and other materials, and she has done etchings to accompany them. Influenced by Constantin Brancusi, her work also reflects an engagement with Islamic and ancient Middle Eastern artistic traditions. For example, many of her works are refined, abstract forms taken from Arabic calligraphy and Arabic words, or are done in the spirit of ancient Egyptian and Sumerian art. Saudi describes her pieces as already formed within the piece of stone and says her work is to draw them out through sculpting. Her work is also inspired by her reading and writing of poetry, and her poems have been translated in her collection An Ocean of Dreams (1999).

Saudi is also an arts activist. She has published the drawings of Palestinian refugee children and organized arts exhibitions to support the Palestinian cause. She lives and works in Beirut, and her large-scale public sculptures can be found there, as well as in Jordan and at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris.

THE WORLD'S PERSPECTIVE

Saudi is recognized internationally for her works, particularly because she remains one of the few female Arab artists to produce large stone sculptures.

LEGACY

Saudi is still at work, and thus it is too early to assess her lasting legacy.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

"Mona Saudi." Darat al Funun: Khalid Shoman Foundation. Available from http://www.daratalfunun.org/main/resourc/exhibit/saudi/saudi.html.

"Mona Saudi—Jordanian Sculptor." Mona Saudi's website. Available from www.monasaudi.com.

                                        Jessica Winegar

                            updated by Michael R. Fischbach

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Saudi, Mona (1945–)

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