The Jordan Times Newspaper | Volume 30 | No. 9821 | Sunday, March 13, 2005 | Page 16
Going beyond the known
By Ica Wahbeh
AMMAN – Caroline Ayoub Lama’s paintings are more than “the Jordanian Landscape” that inspires her; they talk about love for the country, desire to explore its beauty and render it in faithful representations. Above all, they show a fascination with the black iris, this beautiful, intriguing flower that is the country’s national symbol.
A profusion of color, flowers and lush vegetation meets the visitor to Zara Gallery during an uncharacteristically cold and rainy March day.
The artist, an architect, likes “to combine architecture with nature; thus, a vase on a windowsill”.
“It takes me a while to construct my still life. I study the shape and the light”.
The result is glorious flowers in baskets, “Dutch porcelain”, “Murano glass”, clay and bottles.
The black iris takes pride of place. Its majestic petals and color are painstakingly reproduced in minute detail in images of Georgia O’Keefe’s celebrated flowers. The vulnerable flower, dark aborigine, blue, purple, almost black, stands proud, alone or in groups, so realistically painted that you sniff the air to catch its fresh smell.
Ayoub Lama’s oils on canvas are of still life and landscapes.
A cyclamen in Hebron vase embellishes a window sill. Callas, poppies, anemones, irises and tulips speak of a fragrant spring; freesia, gladiolus and hyacinth, “with a lot of silver and gold to give luminosity”, of a lazy summer day, scented and hued in cheerful colors; and the riot of bright gold, yellows, oranges, coral reds on a white table cloth of the love and care of the artist for these nature’s wonders.
“I use impasto work”, says Ayoub Lama about the thick layer of color dabs, themselves looking like beautiful flowers, that gives depth to the paintings.
“Patio reflections” is a beautiful arrangement of flowers in surroundings of wood (bamboo), glass, pewter and tiles.
“I like showing texture in my work,” says the artist.
She also gives time and reflection to the arrangements she makes, betraying a sharp aesthetic eye and desire to be surrounded by beauty.
The landscape scenes, from Wadi Seer, Maain Spa, Wadi Sha’eb, are all about water and its life-giving powers.
The luxuriant vegetation around a streamlet covers the wide range of colors on a painter’s palette and more. Oleanders, eucalyptus trees, bushes and flowers grow next to each other, mixing green with red, purple, ochre and rust, making one doubt the veracity of such juxtaposition.
“yes, all these scenes exist in Jordan”, says Ayoub Lama who takes her children on picnics to these places many of us do not know exist and briskly starts on her sketches that she paints later, in the comfort and quiet of her studio.
An interesting group of landscapes is provided by Aqaba. The scenes, all zooming in on the land from the sea, show the forbidding mountains receding in the background, houses hugging slopes, streets and shops, palm trees, gardens, and the blue, calm sea with boats floating idly around.
The public beach, a summer theater and the floating restaurant again prove the artist’s scouting instinct, the desire to go beyond the known and the trodden, to discover places and things the others don’t know exist or don’t care about.
The colors are vivacious; the scenes are faithful reproductions of the ambiance, works of document value.
Pella, Rmimin, Jericho “on the way to Jerusalem” are more places stowed away for those eager to discover beauty and that Ayoub Lama captured on her canvas.
The representations are lifting, the colors warm, and the love for the country’s nature overwhelming. They are on display at the Zara Gallery until March 16.