Since I have been seeing them ‘I said to myself’ I can’t let their memories end. Safaitic people are Arabian Bedouin tribes that used to live in north- eastern Jordan, southern Syria and north-western Saudi Arabia, around the 1st century BC and the 4th century AD and thus are contemporary with the Roman occupation of this region and with Nabataean and Herodian kingdoms.
The Safaitic tribes extensively documented their history including social structures, political regimes, religious believes, philosophy, science and magic and even the aspirations and fears of their nomads; on basilet rocks. This region is still called ‘Safa’ today meaning the land of hard rock and is named after the tough Bedouins who lived there. The graffiti on these stones ‘safaitic inscriptions’ also contains drawings of animals like camels, horses and their riders, lions, deers, ostriches, oxes and foxes. Interestingly foxes were domesticated and used in hunting while their dogs were only used to protect their livestock.
These drawings also provide an insight into the emotions of the people who carved them and their current concerns; such as the availability of arable grazing grounds for their livestock, or mourning the discovery of another inscription by a person who has since died, or simply listing his genealogy and stating that he made the inscription. Others comment on raids and pray for fortune. There are also a few inscriptions by female authors. Some inscriptions included rock art, showing hunting or battle scenes, Bedouin camp scenes, or occasional female figures; something which is considered unique for this region and during this period…
When I was working in The Jordan Museum I saw a book about Safiatic inscriptions and I decided to study these inscriptions and drawings carefully. I also visited their location in the desert of Jordan and was able to admire their beauty first hand. I was so inspired by these drawings that I decided to create my own modern paintings that are based on these mysterious and beautiful works. I made sure that my work maintained and reflected the spirit of this primitive art work while allowing it tobecome part of contemporary art in the 21st century.