The pioneering Saudi artist Abdul Halim Radawi died Sunday in Jeddah at age 76, the Arab News reported yesterday.
Radawi was known for paintings depicting the authentic Saudi lifestyle with varied elements such as writings, people and birds. He believed that the Saudi artist must always keep an eye on his national identity.
“As Saudis we have a huge resource in our own traditions and costumes: the dances, clothes, houses that differ from one tribe to another,” he said, as quoted in the Arab News.
Radawi was among the first groups of Saudi artists sent to Italy and the US on government scholarships in the 1960s. He obtained a BA in fine arts in Italy, and held his first individual art exhibit in Saudi Arabia in 1964. His paintings have been on exhibit around the world.
His two personal favorites were “Recitation of Qur’an,” which won a prize at the 1988 Biennale in Spain, and “Old Buildings in Makkah,” which he refused to sell for half a million Saudi riyals and kept in his personal museum in Jeddah.