Talking about the artist Sami Mohammed is talking about the pulnerized “human being “
Chained with anxieties and pains. His world stricken us, makes us realize our tormented humanity, everywhere and at all times. “the human being” is Sami’s subject, and his hope. He materialized human pains and agonies, and dreams of a day in witch justice and freedom prevail.
Whenever we look at Sami Mohammed’s sculptures we feel the pain and suppression because we sympathize with his characters and unit with them.
He has an extraordinary skill to impress and materialize his enlightened craftsmanship.
In his works, Sami Mohammed has gone beyond the familiar standards. In his achievements he isn’t confined to his own surroundings. He also dealt with multi human subjects, illustrating the vanquished human tragedies everywhere, which grant him an appreciation and prestige through which, he exceeds the territorial boundaries to international arenas, as a messenger of Kuwaiti art.
Whenever I have a meeting with a formative artist, and when talking about Sami Mohammed’s artistic achievements, I feel proud, because there is such an artist in my country, who gives such an appalling models. Yes, it is indeed an appalling to contemplate on one of his sculptures. It is devoid of courtesy, facts forgoing and decorating by which he may ignore human torments. Nevertheless, he still pleases us with his art which a mixture of fear and pain, along with the artistic appreciation for the aesthetic values embodies by the artist.
His own efforts and constant searching for impressive and effective artistic values , Sami Mohammed was able to engrave his name deeply along with the names of the best formative artists of the Arab nation.
" Dr.Khalid A.Ramadan "
" In The Beginning "
I was born in AL-Sawaber quarter of the AL-Sharq district in Kuwait in 1943 .My relation to the clay started when I was a young boy . I used to sit, silently watching the walls of our old house built of sea stone and clay. Something moved me to spread out my hand to the clay, and I did not realize then that my hand would always be extended to clay all my life.
I started to make forms looking like the shapes of birds, animals and fish. I used to lean my back to the wall and go into deep thought and imagination. I would finish my little status and put them under the sun, then watch them dry up moment after moment, hardly able to wait until they were dry, and then I would carry them happily to my friends who would look at them and admire them. shortly afterwards, we would brake this statues , then I would return once again to the world of clay .
In 1956, following the tripartite aggression against Egypt, I was a student at al sabaah school. The school administration, wishing to express it’s solidarity with the people of Egypt, decided to erect a work of art to commemorate the battle of port said and port fouad on the stage of the school. A few of my colleagues and I were entrusted with creating works of clay depicting soldiers ,women and children ,under the supervision of the art education teachers at the school .this art work was completed and turned out to be superb. I was very proud and happy when my name was broadcast through the school microphone and I came out to shake hands with the patron of the celebration, sheik Abdullah al jabber. That day ,I resaved the first artistic pries in my life –a ball –point pen ,which has remained a dear pries and close to my heart.
Subsequently I moved to other schools: Al-Maamoun , Al-Ghazali ,Shamiah intermediate and keefan secondary in all these schools, I was to be seen frequently at the drawing ateliers. During the period 1957-1959 I started to carve yellow bricks, using a knife and sandpaper. Most of my works depicted human faces at that time.
The Free Atelier:
At the beginning of 1960, I joined the free atelier; I liked the friendly atmosphere and was filled with enthusiasm to work there. I started to devote all my time after 1962 to working at the free atelier for the fine arts, where are spent the four following years, during which I participated in all the spring exhibitions, which used to be held every year at Al-Mubarakiah school. The common denominator in all the works which I performed during that period was that they centered around man, love and freedom. During that period I worked very hard and with great enthusiasm. I loved to depict silent nature, portraits of training and the gaining of the necessary experience to enter the enchanting world of art.
College of Fine Arts:
In 1966, I was sent to Egypt where I took the first real steps toward a specialized scientific education in the matter of my arts, when I joined the college of fine arts.
I loved the Egyptian museums, which I never stopped visiting throughout the period of my studies at the college. I studied all the contents of these museums, trying to learn more and more about their particular aspects.
The period of my studies at the college, from 1966 to 1970, was the most productive period in my life. I stayed long hours at the ateliers, and also worked long hours at my apartment. Throughout that period, my consistent obsession was man and art.
The period between my graduation from the college of fine arts in Cairo (1970) and my going to USA (1974) was a period of research and follow-up of all things relating to art in general, and modern art in particular. This was reflected in my oil paintings and sculptures.
The years of study in USA (1974-76) were characterized by the fast tempo of modern life in all aspect. In addition to my attending classes at the college, I used to visit various types of museums representing different art schools. I also attended many art exhibitions and visited numerous ateliers and galleries in various parts of the USA, showing the works of artists of all schools of art.
The years of my studies in the USA were indeed a new phase in my life, and were separate from my previous and subsequent years. After my return to my beloved country in 1976, I had many ideas struggling in my mind. The major question was: what do you want?
I painted and carved for whole year, expressing that obsession which I had. I completed some major works, a number of minor works and numerous sketches. They all centered around (line and color). I called them “the curves”. During that period, I craved wood also and I completed such works as “before birth”, “after birth” and “motherhood”.
Yet that nagging question persisted:” what do you want?”
I turned to local heritage. I was attracted by the tent and the rug. Through them, I entered the world of art of Sadu, that creative art practiced by the Bedouin female weavers.
I spent some time studying the relation that exist between man, the woolen thread, colors, the fingers of the Bedouin women, the tent, the pillow case and the rug. I drew several paintings statues of metal sheet, bronze and wood as well as gypsum, all dealing with the subject of Bedouin life.
Yet that question persisted: “what do you want?”
This time unlike other times, the answer came to me as an explosion within me, and marked the beginning of the “boxes” phase in my carrier. Most of my “ box “ works tell the story of man ,moving with force destroying his chains seeking salvation and enjoyment of the light of life.
From that stage onward, man become my cause and my obsession: the oppressed and suffering human being in his consistent and unending search for freedom love and peace.
" BIOGRAPHY "
1943 - October 1st— Sami Mohammed Al-Saleh is born in Al-Sawaber Quarter,
Sharq District, one of the oldest sections of Kuwait City. Father is a bisht tailor
(traditional Arab woolen cloak for men) famous for his karmak embroidery,
an intricate three-tier ornamentation made from gold threads, stitched on the
bisht, and hammered. Mother is a housewife.
1949 - Attends Al-Sabah Elementary School in Sharq and later Al-Shamia
Intermediate School in Shamia.
1953 - Ventures at the age of ten into sculpting using sea rocks and clay as media.
1956 - As a student of thirteen years old participates in a school art project: a sculptural
group work commemorating the Anglo-French military attack on Egypt
during the Suez Canal crisis. Is awarded a token prize by Sheikh Abdullah al-
Jaber, Director of the Bureau of Education.
Family moves to Keifan, then a newly built modern suburb.
Joins the Boys Scouts.
1959 - At Al-Shamia Intermediate School, takes art classes taught by Shawqi Al-
Dousoqi, an art teacher and a capable ceramist from Egypt.
1960 - walking trips to Al-Jahra village (40 Kilometers west of Sharq) and Al-Fintas
village (35 Kilometers south).
As a novice artist frequents The Free Atelier where he takes art classes
taught by Anwar Al-Surouji, a sculpture teacher from Egypt.
1961 - Enters Keifan High School.
Joins the Free Atelier as a full-time artist. The Ministry of Education, which
officially administers the Atelier as one of its institutional units, grants him a
life-long stipend. As a stipendiary he acquires studio space at The Free
Atelier where he draws and sculpts and organizes exhibitions.
Joins the Kuwaiti civil defense volunteers during the Iraqi - Kuwaiti Border -
Works on ceramic Sculptures.
1965 - Marries into Al-Mohammed Ali family, a Kuwaiti family from Sharq District.
Works on life-size statues of muslim historical figures.
1966 - Is awarded a governmental scholarship to study abroad.
Passes the entrance examination to The College of Fine Arts, Cairo, Egypt
and becomes a full-time student. Family remains in Kuwait.
Is trained to draw and sculpt in a variety of genres and media.
Studies sculpture with Jamal Al-Sajeeni.
Is introduced to F.A. Rodin’s sculptural techniques.
Frequents the Egyptian Museum and visits the pharaohnic temples in Aswan.
However, ancient Egyptian art does not influence his work.
Daughter Khawthar is born.
1967 - Cofounds The Kuwaiti Society for Formative Arts.
1968- Daughter Haifa is born.
1969 - Besides his studio at the Free Atelier, establishes a second studio in his
house in Keifan.
1970 - Graduates from the College of Fine Arts and returns to Kuwait.
Participates in The Kuwaiti Society for Formative Arts (KSFA) juried Annual
Group Exhibition and receives a silver medal.
1971 - Participates in KSFA juried Annual Group Exhibition and receives a bronze
Is commissioned by Al-Ra’i Al-Aam Newspaper to make an enormous statue
of Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, ruler of Kuwait from 1950 - 1965,
which he executes in bronze.
Receives a Diploma de Prix National in III Festival International de Peinture,
1972 - Participates in KSFA juried Annual Group Exhibition and receives a bronze
Is selected to represent Kuwait at the Arab Conference in Damascus, Syria.
Is deputized as visiting artist by Kuwait University to teach tutorials and offer
students studio experience in visual arts.
Son Osama is born.
1973- Begins to sculpt in teakwood; the theme of the joys of maternity dominates.
Is granted a scholarship by the Ministry of Information to study art in the
Studies English language in Brattleboro, Vermont.
1974 - Joins Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture, Princeton, New Jersey
and studies sculptural media and new casting techniques.
Resides with Mr. and Mrs. Kelsall at Wyndswept, 256 varsity Avenue, Penns
Neck, Princeton, U.S.A.
Gives human anatomy tutorials to Johnson Atelier’s freshmen students.
Frequents the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia.
Participates in KSFA juried Annual Group Exhibition and is awarded the
Exhibition’s first prize.
Son Bashar is born.
1975 - Participates in the Fourth Exhibition of Arab Artists, a biannual event sponsored
by KSFA and held in Kuwait City, and is awarded the Golden Sail First Prize
? Father dies during a trip to Saudi Arabia.
? Moves family to their new home in Riqqa, where he keeps two studios, one
for sculpture and a smaller one for painting.
1976 - Completes the program at Johnson Atelier.
Participates in KSFA juried Annual Group Exhibition and receives the
Exhibition’s first prize.
1977 - Participates in KSFA juried Annual Group Exhibition and receives the
Exhibition’s first prize.
Participates in the Fifth Exhibition of Arab Artists and receives the Golden
Sail First Prize.
Begins Curves series (paintings).
1978 - Is selected to represent Kuwaiti Sculpture at Kuwaiti Artists Exhibition in
Is selected to represent Kuwait at the Tenth International Sculpture
Conference held in Toronto, Canada, Travels to Toronto and Montreal.
Begins the Boxes series (sculptures).
1979 - Begins the Shackled series (Paintings and drawings in Chinese ink on
Begins the Call for Help series (sculptures).
Begins AlSadu project (paintings and sculptures).
Son Mohammed is born.
1981 - Participates in KSFA juried Annual Group Exhibition and receives the
Exhibition’s first prize
Participates in The Seventh Exhibition of Arab Artists and is awarded The
Golden Sail First Prize.
1982 - Expands one of his ground floor studios in Riqqa and closes the smaller one.
1984 - Participates in First Cairo Art Biennial and receives the Biennial’s first prize
1985 - His entry to Al-Safat Square public monument design competition is awarded
first prize; design was not executed.
Is selected to represent Kuwait at the International Conference on Sculpture,Spain.
Participates in the Ninth Exhibition of Arab Artists and is awarded a merit certificate.
1986 - Visits Algeria and participates in “A Week of Kuwaiti Culture”, a festival sponsored
by the Ministry of Information.
Participates in a group exhibition celebrating 25 years since the inauguration
of The Free Atelier.
Serves on Conferences Palace Artwork Acquision Committee, the Amiri
1987 - Visits Germany and participates in The International Conference for
Intergraphics, held in East Berlin.
1988 - Visits Jeddah City, Saudi Arabia, as member of an official Kuwaiti delegation
to study the landscape designs of the city’s waterfront.
Is commissioned by Al-Ra’i Al-Aam Newspaper to make an enormous statue
of Sheikh Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, ruler of Kuwait from 1965 - 1977, which
he executes in bronze.
Visits Dublin, Ireland and participates in the International Conference on
Collaborates with Beit-AlSadu, a non-profit society - guild for female weavers
and is commissioned to create carpet designs for the weavers to make.
1989 - Beit-AlSadu carpet exhibition is held on May 16th.
Is selected to represent Kuwaiti art on the occasion of the inauguration of the
Institut Du Monde Arabe, Paris, France.
Participates in Kuwait General Exhibition and is awarded the Golden Sail
Participates in the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) Art Biennial and receives
the Golden Frond First Prize
Participates in a “Week of Kuwaiti Media”, Cairo, Egypt, a cultural festival
sponsored by the Ministry of Information.
1990 - Remains in Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion.
1991 - First attack of heart arrhythmia.
Begins the Spite series (paintings).
1993 - Is commissioned by the National Council for Culture, Arts, and Letters to
design the State of Kuwait Merit Award trophy.
1994 - Holds his first solo and traveling exhibition, including both paintings and
sculptures, which opens at Sharjah, organized by Department of Culture and
Information, Directorate of Arts, then moves to Abu Dhabi, organized by the
Cultural Institute, and then to Kuwait City, organized by the National Council
for Culture, Arts, and letters.
Publishes The Art of Sami Mohammed, a bilingual Arabic-English book which
traces the development of his four-decade-long career. The book contains a
wealth of full-page illustrations of paintings and sculptures, numerous sketches
and preparatory drawings.
1995 - publication of his bilingual book, which trace development
of his four-decade-long.
Visits Bodova, Italy and participates in Bodova International Biennial on
Visits Lathekia, Syria and participates in Amity and Peace Biennial; receives
the Biennial’s first prize.
Begins the construction of his house - studio in Sharjah, United Arab
1996 - Serves on the Judicators Committee of the Twelfth Kuwait International Art
Biennial and is awarded a special first prize for sculpture.
Participates in the Gulf Cooperation Council Fourth Art Biennial and receives
the Golden Frond First Prize for Sculpture.
1999 - Closes his studio at the Free Atelier.
Joint exhibition with Egyptian artist Omar Al-Najdi, organized by Bushehri
Participates in “Kuwait Cultural Week”, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain.
Receives the State of Kuwait National Merit Award, given by the National
Council for Culture, Arts and Letters.
Begins the Grays series (Paintings.)
2000- Mother dies.
Represents Kuwait at Tehran First Islamic Art Biennial and receives the
Biennial’s first prize for painting.
Is commissioned by the National Council for Culture, Arts, and letters to
design and execute the golden medal and trophy of The National
Begins Stop Series (Paintings and Sculptures).
2001 - The Museum Of Contemporary Art in Sharjah, UAE, dedicates a separate
wing for his artworks which are exhibited on long-term basis.
His much acclaimed sculptural work “Paralysis and Resistance” is purchased
by The National Council for Culture, Arts, and Letters and is proffered to the
Arab League as attestation to the achievement of Kuwaiti Art.
Three of his AlSadu paintings are included in exhibition at Wereldmuseum,
Rotterdam, The Netherlands from July 2001 to March 2002.
Serves on The Sharjah Museum of Art Acquisition Committee during Sharjah
International Art Biennial, Sixth Session.
Serves on the Judicators Committee of Palette (Milwin) Exhibition, sponsored
by Saudi Arabia Airlines.
2002 - Serves on the Judicators Committee of State of Kuwait National Merit Award.
Serves on the Judicators Committee of the Thirty First Bahrain Exhibition of
2003 - Serves on the Judicators Committee of the State of Kuwait National Merit
Serves on the Judicators Committee of the Seventh GCC Formative Arts
Exhibition, Kuwait City.
2004 - publication of a book entitled “Sami Mohammed and the semiotics of abstraction: Kuwaiti
folk art as muse “by the center research & studies in Kuwait. The book traces interactions with AL-Sadu art.
Sami Mohammad the Semiotics of Abstraction: Folk Art as Muse,
by Dr. Zahra Ahmad Hussein Ali. Publisher Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait" 2004".
The artist won numerous prizes and merit certificates given by local, regional and
international art associations and exhibitions.
The artist participated in numerous exhibitions in Kuwait, in the Arab
world and many foreign countries
A Promise :
I was a young child when clay caught my
Attention, and a young man when
I rushed to experiment and try .
Here I am now
Giving my whole self to the cause of …
So small in size that he is wonderful,
So big in his forbearance, sustained by hope ,
So surprisingly great in his creativeness …
A promise .
" Sami Mohammad "
ALL RIGHTS AND PICTURES RECEIVED TO THE KUWAITI ARTIST SAMI MOHAMMED 2005 ©
" KUWAIT " " U.A.E "
"E-MAIL : firstname.lastname@example.org&qu