Selected Exhibitions


Extracts from Newspapers, Magazines and others

Copyright ©Khairat Al-Saleh


Self Portrait


2005      Just Glass, Coach House, Richmond, London.

2004      Symbols of Harmony, County Gallery, Maidstone, Kent.

2003      *Just Glass, Coach House, Richmond, London.

*Journey Through Time, Exhibition of ceramics accompanied by a lecture, SOAS, University of London.

2001      *The Craft Movement's Contemporary Crafts Fair , Richmond, London.

                 *Inspired by the V&A, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.  Certificate of Work of

                 outstanding  Calibre.

     *Recent Work by 12 Arab Artists, Wereldmuseum, Rotterdam.

     2000   * Lit By Moon, Sun And Stars, solo Exhibition, Leighton House Museum, London.

                 * Global Women Project Exhibition, White Columns Gallery, New York; 

                 Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, Michigan; Tucson Museum of Arts, Arizona; The Art Gallery, 

                 University of Maryland ; Volvo Showroom, Stockholm;  YWCA Women's Art Gallery, Cincinnati,

                 Ohio, 2001.            

                 * Inspired  by the V&A,  Victoria and Albert Museum, London.  Certificate  of Work of

                 outstanding  Calibre.

     1999   *Traditional Islamic Arts, Sunni Gallery, London.

                * Influenced by the V&A Collection, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.  Certificate of Work of

                  outstanding  Calibre.

     *Crafts, Riverside Gallery, Richmond, London.

     *Exhibition of Ceramics and prints, Russell Sheridan Gallery, London.

     1998    *The Craft Movement's Contemporary Crafts Fair, Kensington, London. 

                 * 20 Years of Egee Art Consultancy, Egee Art Gallery and Soni Gallery, London.

     1997    *Arabesque in Traditional Crafts of OIC Countries, Damascus , Syria.  Certificate of Merit


                 * Modern and Contemporary Syrian Art, Leighton House Museum, London.

     1996    *Opposities, Museum of Ethnology, Rotterdam, Holland.

                 *Art in Action, Waterperry, Oxford.

                 *The Dalton Gallery, Agnes Scott College, Atlanta, USA.

     1995     *Between Two Gardens,  solo exhibition, Leighton House Museum, London.

                  * The Arab Fine Art Exhibition, The Arab British Chamber of Commerce, London.

                  *Visions of East and West, Sayde Interiors, Belgravia, London.

     1994     Forces of Change, Art in the Arab World, National Museum for Women in the Arts,

                  Washington DC.

     1993    *Royal   Worcester gallery, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

                 *Richmond Printmakers at the Barbican Centre, London.

                 * Richmond Printmakers,  Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham, London.  With Ceramics by


     1992     Exhibition of ceramics at Chelsea Town Hall, London.

                  *Fine Art Exhibition, Artspace, Parkshot Centre, Richmond, London.

     1991     Café Royale exhibition of the Federation of International Women's Association in London.

     1990     An exhibition of etchings and paintings at the GATT Gallery of the United Nations, Geneva.

     1989     Shoman Foundation, later (Darat  al Funun) , Jordan, Amman.

     1988     Arab Women Artists in the UK, Kufa Gallery, London.






Al-Saleh, Khairat, Fabled Cities Princess and Jinn from Arab Myths and Legends, (London, 1983).

The New Linguaphone Arabic Language Course, Consultant editor: Khairat Al-Saleh, London.

Al-Saleh, Khairat, translator, "Two Verse Plays by W.B.Yeats", Foreign Horizons, Damascus, Summer. 1983.

Attallah, Naim, Women, Quartet Books Ltd, (London 1987).

Claudia DeMonte (curator), Women of the World, (Pomegranate Communications, inc., LA, 2000.)

Glencoe Literature; the Reader's Choice, World Literature, Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, United States 2000, p.416.

Lemsine, Aicha, The Judgement of Voices: Arab Women Talk, (published by Tlas, Damascus, 1987).

Salwa Miqdadi Nashashibi, Forces of Change: Artists of the Arab World, (The International Council of Women in the Arts, Lafayette, California and The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, 1994).


Catalogues and leaflets

Apposities, Museum of Ethnology, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 1996.

Al-saleh, Khairat, Modern and Contemporary Syrian Art: Vibrant Explorations, (Leighton House Museum, London, 1997).

Around the World with Art, FIWAL, (London 1991).

Contemporary Arab Art: Recent work by 12 artista selected by Egee Art Consultancy, (Wereldmuseum, Rotterdam,

The Netherlands, 2002).

Efgee Art celebrates 20th Anniversary at 2 venues: Soni Gallery and Egee Art Consultancy, (London 1999).

Symbols of Harmony, Art from the Islamic World, The County Gallery, (Maidstone, Kent, 2004).

The Arab Art Exhibition, The Arab British Chamber Of Commerce, (London, 1995).


Newspapers, Magazines, Press Releases, and Others

Alexandrian, Sonia, "I am Reviving Ancient Pottery and Ceramics", BBC Al-Mushahid Al-Siyasi, no. 318, (London, February 1998).

Alrawi, Karim "The Fabulous and the Fantastic", Inquiry, vol.3 No8 (London, Aughust, 1986) p.-73.

Anne Mullin Burnham, "Reflections in Women's Eyes", Aramco World, Vol.45, No.1, (Houston, Texas, 1994).

"Reviving the Art of the Potter", Al-thaqafiyya, Issue no 4, (Arab Cultural Bureau, London, 1997), p.62.    

"Arab Art is unfairly Treated: An Interview", Al-Quds Al-Arabi, (London, March, 1997).

Ceramics Review, (London, April, May, 2000).

"ICWA Develops the Contemporary Arts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia", Golden Falcon, (London, April 1994).

Ilham Bamihriz, "I have chosen to express myself in colours and I have made the leap from word to image", Al-Bilaad, (Jeddah, 27 April, 1993).

Imad Al-ghazali, "Miniatures, Calligraphy and Illustrated Stories Recalling the Arabian nights",Al-Hayat,

(Jeddah, 6, 5, 1993).

 Khairat Al-Saleh, Art and the Journey Through Time: A Potter's Point of View, Speech,  delivered at SOAS, University of London, to Accompany the exhibition Journey through time by the artist, 2003.

"Khairat Al-Saleh in Search of the Lost Link", Al-Muhajir, Issue no59, (London, June 6, 1995).

"Khairat Al-Saleh: My Values as a human being are indistinguishable from My Values as an Artist", Al-Arab, (London, 26, 5, 1995).

Lee Adair Lawrence, "Insight into Islam: US Museums Growing interest in Muslim History and Art", Far eastern Economic Review, (30 Dec. 1993 and 6Jan. 1994).

Mayzak, Andrew, Orientalism in Islamic Art, 2006,

Mohammad Al-Nimr/" Khairat Al-Saleh is an artist who seeks inspiration for her art in the dawn of Civilizations", Okaz, (Jeddah, 28 April, 1993).

Nelly Lama, "Women Artists Thrive in Jordan", Jordan Times, ( Amman, December 5, 1989).

Nihad Al-Hayek, "The Forces of Change in Arab Women Fine Arts", Al-Majal, (March, 1994).

"Review of Fabled Cities, Princess and Jinn", Inquiry, (London, September 1985), P.74.

Sunday Telegraph, (London, 23 March 1997).

Salwa Khamis, " Drawing on Heritage is not Spontaneous", Okaz, (Jeddah April 28, 1993).

Seena Ata,"Fabled Cities", Arab Horizons, (London, August 1986).

Wereldmuseum on Contemporary Arab Art, "Arab Artists in Rotterdam", 2002.

Xiauddin, Sardar, "Articles of Faith", New Statesman, (London, June 1999).

Yusef Abul-Izz, "Drawing on Tradition with the Spirit of Modernity", Al-Sha'b, (Amman, December 2, 1989).

Yusef Al-Nasir, "The aesthetic objectives of art are not different from those of religion", Al-Hayat, (London, 3, 5, 1995).


Extracts from books, newspapers, magazines and others

(See details of the sources above)


From an essay, Orientalism in Islamic Art History, blog, 2006 (see above)


Calligraphy is, according to Ali, a point of continuity between the past and the present, a way for modern Muslim artists to use Western mediums and forms while maintaining a strong link to the past (Ali 151).  This cannot be overemphasized.  One look at Khairat al-Saleh’s The Creation 2 and it is evident she was inspired by the highly traditional forms of the Blue Qur’an and the Sultan Sha’ban Qur’an.  At the time these two antique manuscripts were created, the text of the Qur’an itself was used to provide the main decoration for pages, representing of the revealed word of God in visual form (Bloom 71).  The Blue Qur’an uses gold ink on blue-dyed parchment, making the book itself extremely costly to manufacture as blue was the most expensive dye in the medieval world and parchment required the skinning of hundreds of animals for a single Qur’an to be produced (Bloom 73).  The Kufic script of Arabic was used to symbolize the high-status nature of the words on the page and the text lacks the diacritics which aid the reader in pronunciation and interpretation of meaning (Bloom 71).  By contrast, the Sultan Sha’ban Qur’an is lavishly decorated with the text neatly including all vowel markings in a clear, legible script.  The use of gold and crushed lapis lazuli on paper signifies a shift from the more expensive blue-dyed parchment to the more economical, but arguably more variable and practical medium of paper.  Al-Saleh’s work combines the styles of these two manuscripts while simultaneously incorporating modern media.  She uses the comparatively modern mediums of gouache and paper, but still writes her letters in gold leafed Kufic script and surrounds the text with elaborate margin decorations.  The idea that The Creation 2 is supposed to hang on a wall is also significant because “in Islamic culture, pages from the Qur’an were never torn out to be framed, and the illusion of two open pages in a free-standing painting is entirely modern,” (Ali 166).  Perhaps this is, as Lewis describes a self-conscious neoclassical effort, but the media and purpose of the piece clearly differ from those of the antique Qur’ans and it would be a mistake to think of The Creation 2 as anything but modern


Dr Mark Hoos, Arts and the Islamic World, World Arts Museum, Rotterdam


Khairat Al-Saleh is one of the Arab artists who greatly cherish the richness of Islamic art and try to revive their

cultural heritage quite powerfully by creating new forms and offering novel and vivid contemporary interpretations.

Never the less she does not only look backward, but strives to create a bridge between the past and the modern world, and between East and West…The World Art Museum once more acquired some of her work, which in our opinion, contributes favorably to our collection. The World, Art Museum in Rotterdam considers her an accomplished and important artist and takes pride in being able to present the full range of Khairat's artistry.


From a speech delivered during the reception of Contemporary Arab Art at the Wereld Museum, Rotterdam, 2001.


In London, Khairat Al-Saleh realized that a lot of her own culture has vanished or at least become beyond reach. The most beautiful works of art are in the West, in the British Museum, and the V&A. "I am a child of my own time", (she says), "but in my work I want to revive the history of Arab art. If you neglect your own vocabulary, visual or otherwise, it will vanish in the future and become part of an extinct culture…As a result of globalization a universal image language has developed, a kind of art that is almost the same all

over the world and is dominated by the West. I suppose that, because \this means the sad loss of other cultures which deserve to be acknowledged and admired, the world will starve aesthetically, having to rely only on the monopoly of one way expression.


New Statesman, London, 29 January 1999.


Khairat Al-Saleh uses arabesque, the favorite motif of Islamic art, in her ceramics, etchings and paintings, to shimmering effect, Arabesque designs can be analyzed, and described more easily in abstract terms– dark or light,

full or void, symmetrical or repetitive – than in terms of their concrete details. In Al-Saleh's work, they become a vehicle for light and colour… Her ceramics are neat little essays in synthesis and convergence, the classical quest of arabesque.


From a press release, Leighton House Museum, Between Two Gardens, 1995


An exhibition of paintings, ceramics and prints, celebrating the duality of the artist's culture and vision: her passionate Endeavour to express poetically in her work the vibrancy and intensity of the past, brought to the present in a shimmering eternal movement of history and geography.


From an interview published by BBC Al-Mushahid Al-Siyasi  magazine, London March 1998


I owe allegiance to both West and East and I wish that there will be a time when civilizations will become partners,…We are not alone in the world and civilizations have always intertwined and affected each other. …Each

time a civilization was conquered , it eventually  succeeded in educating the conquerors and a new civilization was


If we try to trace the history of the world in the Middle East  through ceramics, we learn a lesson in coexistence among the peoples and their neighbors because this interaction was not a superficial mergence but a real and deep-rooted  one, celebrating Asia in Europe and vise versa while reflecting all  the civilizations  of the Middle East…There is talk now about another war to be launched against this

civilization and many people consider the superiority of the West as a matter of fact, but no civilization can grow or grew in isolation, and if civilizations cannot link to each other then they are superficial and shallow. If you are an artist advocating peace, you will see the light of all civilizations shimmering against the background of barbarism


From an interview with Al-Quds Al-'Arabi, newspaper London, 5March, 1997


In general, great injustice surrounds Arab art at the present  because of confusing the political with the cultural…Power refuses to differentiate between people and politics, between cultures and governments. It is extremely difficult for the Arabs

to claim their inalienable rights within the world context because of the conflicts between civilizations and politics.  Nevertheless, I believe that we are still contributing to world civilization, although we have problems in both the manner of presenting our contribution and the manner we behave when we are at the receiving end. We have to strive to relate, resorting to more humane and civilized methods because our peoples are the oldest in the world and have proven their right to life and advancement. If we do not place our culture in this historical context, history will forget us. Moreover,

it would be a good thing to always remember that we transmitted and taught civilization to the world..


We cannot revive the past unless we are an inseparable part of the future. I do not strive to resurrect the bones in my works for I try to clothe them in fresh garments and display them anew…In my painting, "The Road to Damascus",

you might have noticed  in my choice of the styles of architecture, that the painting contains many architectural levels rising on top of each other, Greek, Roman, and Islamic.  I do not try to merely portray the physical interpretation of my subject, but also strive to imbue it with the spiritual. History for me is part of my very being; therefore, the painting can also be regarded as a quest for the spiritual city within us.


From an interview with Al-Bilad newspaper, 27 April 1993


I spent hours and days at the British Library and the Victoria and Albert Museum, studying the available Islamic manuscripts, utterly lost in a world of luminous colours, trying to unlock some of the methods and techniques employed in painting those manuscripts, especially

the lost art of gilding…I could not find any expert with the necessary knowledge to assist me in my quest…so I embarked on a personal search which eventually led me to use in my works a combination of the old Islamic techniques and contemporary gilding methods…


Most of the time, I avoided conventional academic training because I did not want to be a copy of the others and mainly because what I was seeking was not available. A fire was burning within me and I thought that I was the only one who could keep it alive.

I felt like somebody who had found a priceless treasure and realized that it had to be protected lest it gets disturbed,

thus losing its value. I sensed that I was treading a new path, so, enhanced by my abilities as a researcher, possessing the faculties of observation and the facility to acquire knowledge from scrutiny and diligent pursuit. I embarked on a non stoppable quest. Deep within me, there is the belief that our first and ultimate teacher lies within the self, while what the others can do is to lead us to this inner teacher and awaken him or her.


From an article in Al-Sha'b newspaper, Amman, December 2, 1989


Khairat Al-Saleh is an artist whose imagination is enriched by an idealism, which pulsates with the spirit of the history

of Arab civilization. She relives the past of this civilization with tremendous depth, which clothes her works with a kind

of luminosity so imbued with history…


Khairat's works when viewed by an Arab, convey the feeling that though they are visually Eastern, yet they are

Western in structure and vision… while the European viewer is likely to feel the opposite.  She will not satisfy either.

This is her fate for the time being but as time passes and with a lot of determination, she is going to make her mark

and attain artistic recognition because of her artistic intellect with its literary and scholarly connotation, which delves deeply in order to acquire a new vision.


[Looking at  her painting, entitled "Women Mourning a Child"]…for a moment I thought I was staring at an eighth

or ninth century Russian icon. It draws you in because of its colourful intensity and the enormity of the event it is

depicting. When you come closer, you become aware of the sorrowfulness of the three women and the atmosphere of death

and the pain of separation.  The structure of the background gains in complexity then cuts down dramatically to reveal the three women, which compels you to identify with them in their search for the dead child at their feet…


She treads a very difficult path, making a laborious use of ancient Islamic techniques, while at the same time maintaining her contemporaneousness.


From an article in Jordan Times, Amman, December 5, 1989


Her excellence is in the fact that she seems to always arrive to a point where you can neither add to, nor take away

from her painting, and that is the absolute definition of good art.


From a review of Fabled Cities, Princes and Jin, published in Inquiry, London, September 1985.


This volume is recommended wholeheartedly for both Muslim and non-Muslim children. It is one of those rare books

 that combine an excellent presentation with an informative and well written text.


From a review of Fabled Cities, Princes and Jin, published in Arab Horizons, London, August, 1986.


If we consider that this book aims at the biggest number of European readers, it has been very successful in communicating a simple and beautiful idea about Arab history, which would not have been as effective in a more

sophisticated manner.


From an TV interview with MBC, London, 1995

I am not against seeking inspiration from Western art and civilization.  Look at my works of art and you will find Western influences everywhere. Most of my techniques, especially in graphics, are either western or personally developed from western examples. Only I try to control these influences according to my needs. I believe that the whole world at this juncture of history, has grown smaller and more accessible, which ought to drive us to recognize other cultures and adopt them because they are part of world civilization. Consider us, we who live in the West. I believe we are privileged and enriched because we understand so much about European civilization - we do not merely understand for some of us have adopted and assimilated the best and the most valuable principles that this  civilization has to offer. Yet at the same time, we have other priceless cultural treasures.  We belong to the oldest of worlds and civilizations. Are we so s foolish and ignorant as to give up 10000 years of civilization In order to only belong to one

civilization, the youngest and most recent of all civilization? Do you not believe that such a choice will imply

dispossession and an unimaginable loss?


My idea is that it is futile to call for a global unified language in art. The only unity we can hope for is through  multiplicity.  We are like the spectrum that cannot exist without its colourful components of lights.  Take one away

And the spectrum in not there. Therefore, why do we feel compelled, we who own such a great magnificent

heritage, to blindly, indiscriminately imitate the West, especially at this moment of history when all is not well with Western civilization?  The West itself is displaying great boredom and dissatisfaction with many of its present forms, methods and patterns of thought. The greatest danger to world civilization now is the supremacy of one all-powerful civilization which is displaying great contempt to all that is not made in its own image…


Every human being has experienced pain, if not personal, then universal because of suffering humanity. People are suffering everywhere, in Africa, in the Middle East, in Latin America and the rest of the world. Therefore I feel

that I would like to bring joy and light to all those who view my works. Why should we live in darkness and experience only pain and sorrow? Pain distorts the soul. That is why we need joy and happiness. There is darkness and light, life and death, an endless duality.  Life teaches us duality, therefore we must never forget that…


I have learnt a valuable lesson from the history of Arab Islamic art. While creating his works of art, the artist does not

try to project his personality. There is something far surpassing the ego of the artist; it is a universal vision of things

that belongs to humankind, and not only to a self-centered obsession with the self. When I am painting, I do not want khairat alone to paint. I want the past, the present and the future to paint with me, I want to paint and feel that a civilization is painting with me. My ego is not important…


My style displays my hunger for different forms and techniques.  I strive to master techniques because I believe in the

intrinsic unity between art and craft. I started with craft, and spent hours educating my fingers, trying to teach them

how to use colour and clay, endeavoring to do so like a craftsman and not like an artist. I have great respect for the

Arab craftsmen who during the periods of political disintegration and the ensuing  darkness which paralyzed the arts, kept our heritage ticking by  imitating the old forms and patterns, handed to them by their fathers, and preserving them..


Every piece of my ceramics is a traveler, not only geographically but historically as well.  I do not care if some people believe that I belong more to the pest than to the present because I regard all time as one and that past, present and

 future meet at one point.  I wish to penetrate the wall of time, like the many artists who lived years before yet are still with us today. 


Copyright ©Khairat Al-Saleh

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