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Saif Gaddafi Was Exhibiting Artist - ArtLyst Article image

Saif Gaddafi Was Exhibiting Artist

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Son of Col. had dreams of international success as painter

With all of the coverage and analysis of the overthrow of the Gaddafi rule in Libya there has been almost no mention of Saif al Islam Gaddafi's former career as an artist. I am not making this up! Like Hitler, Saif was a wannabee painter with a self-promoted world tour of his awful work under his belt. His paintings are kind of a mix of abstract surrealism with a bit of painting on velvet thrown in, for good measure.
His association with "The Desert is Not Silent", a touring exhibition of Libyan antiquities and contemporary art was occasionally mentioned but few critics picked up on the fact that many of the paintings in the exhibition were actually painted by the Son of Col. Gaddafi himself.

Reviews at the time mentioned,"The Desert is Not Silent", launched in London in 2002, after a huge,press preview with champagne flowing, in a specially constructed tent pavilion, in Kensington. The launch was packed with a bizarre mix of politicians,diplomats, academics, spooks, fixers, journalists and a few tokens from the art world". The exhibition included, what was thought to be several contemporary Libyan artists. These were displayed alongside a collection of antiquities from the main Tripoli Museum. This was essentially Saif al Islam's project and as he chose the works which were included, it was his paintings that dominated.

The original press release stated," Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the Libyan leader's son, has opened the exhibit “The Desert is Not Silent” in London. The exhibit will be traveling around the world from 2002. The show,will go to Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, Madrid, São Paulo and Moscow. It contains archaeological items from Libya’s leading museums as well as works by modern artists, including the work of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.
 The press release went on to say, that "Libyan art is of great interest because until recently it had been inaccessible to the international community". This exhibition of contemporary Libyan art and ancient Libyan artefacts, takes place in a specially errected tent in Hyde Park, London. We designed and produced the exhibition graphics, catalouge, promotional materials, and website. (work undertaken for JJA) Saif said; "Not only do we buy weapons and sell gas and oil, but we have culture, art and history".

The Desert Is Not Silent' website seems to be down for maintenance, so anyone wondering about the work of the Gaddafi ' mouthpiece here is a selection from the 2002 catalogue. It likely breaches copyright laws but we couldn't get hold of him or his agent to ask for permission and I'm guessing he's a bit busy hiding in a bunker to care!

Here are some links for the traveling exhibition,yes they even used social networking to promote this repulsive show.  See gallery of images



THE DESERT IS NOT SILENT.COM is owned and managed by the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation (GICDF) , which is also the organizer of “The desert is not silent” exhibitions around the world.

What’s our objective?

The main objectives allocated to “ THE DESERT IS NOT SILENT ” by Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation (GICDF) are:
-To popularize Libyan art and richest antiquities,
-To publish news regarding “ THE DESERT IS NOT SILENT ” exhibitions,
-To provide online gallery to web visitors around the world and
-To give answer to art lovers’ questions
-To provide a space of positive discussion for art lovers’.

The thedesertisnotsilent.com is to set-up a more proactive relationship with art lovers, where the audience is not simply analyzed in terms of visitors at the other end of the line, but also in terms of satisfaction provided to them.

What’s the desert is not silent

It has been generally admitted by experts that art is an expression of truth, transmitting of views, feelings, judgments and emotions of the artist, which would like to share his experience, his knowledge, his will, his anxiousness or his hope with others. According to this, the work and the symbolism of the artist are thus a mirror, reflecting all his philosophy
The Artist, deliberately or not, works under the influence of his environment. By the time Libya is known as “the land of the desert”, desert is part of Libyan culture and identity.
As people usually consider the desert as the land of solitude, deep and intense silence, Libyan artists, closed to the desert, living with the desert, would like to call anyone to forget about the usual notion of the desert, known as empty and silent expanse. In reality, the desert is not an inert world. The desert is peopled and filled with stories. The desert can only be silent for those who do not know how to hear its murmuring, in the same way that painting is mute for those who do not know how to see it. The desert, “the land of Twaregs” cannot be silent. “THE DESERT IS NOT SILENT”
Thedesertisnotsilent.com gives the unique chance to discover online, the richness of the Libyan antiquities, including roman and Greek master archeological pieces (30 pieces) coming from Libyan famous museums.
Thedesertisnotsilent.com also gives opportunity to discover the sumptuousness of Libyan fine art, including:
- 39 canvases painted by Engineer Saif El-Islam Gaddafi,
- 6 canvases painted by Fawzi Omar Swei
- 6 canvases painted by Salah Shagroun

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