Thursday, December 8, 2022

Kuwait City, Kuwait    December 8,  2022

Four of us went to Mirror House for a 2 hour tour with a very quirky artist, Lidia Qattan who turned 87 today.  Along the way-



While explaining the history of her work, she talked about her influences- the cosmos - black holes, galaxies, planets, oceans, aquatic life as well as humans today always needing technology, commercialism and forgetting that what makes us human is emotion.  She talked about God, the future, the past, the present and astrology.  Sometimes it seemed we were her congregation and she was the preacher.  Other times she seemed like a raving lunatic and I kept wondering if I was in a bad dream and if this was really happening!  

She started mirroring her home when her young daughter continued to write on the walls because washing off whatever she was using to draw was destroying them.  I’d have taken the crayons away, given her a spanking and that would’ve been the end of it but then we wouldn’t have this “only one in the world” mirrored house!

In the beginning, she attached chunks of mirror to the walls with screws but soon discovered she had a termite problem behind her walls and if she didn’t do something quickly, her house would disappear. She decided to plaster the walls first and put pieces of mirror on top to keep the termites away.  She worked best when her husband was gone for a few days.  Here is the result –

The exterior –



The kitchen-



The bathroom-






The library-




The stairway-



Random wall designs-



Her bedroom-



Sometimes she shut off the lights in the room and turned on music and a black light.  During Covid she added black light paint to her mosaics-








The final galaxy room-



We played a weird game where we had to throw wooden tiles at a carpet hanging on the wall and we were awarded points depending how the image on the tile was displayed.  So strange.  Then we had to pick a number from 1 to 12 and she spun a top.  If it stopped on your number you got to pick a prize like the kind as a kid you get from the dentist.  Freaking hell I thought get me out of here!

On the second floor is the art work of her late husband Khalifa Qattan who unfortunately died in 2003.  He painted about reality and hypocritical governments using his own art style called circlism which is based on philosophy, science and spirituality.  He even had paintings at an exhibition at MOMA in New York City.  He was very influential and a well known artist certainly in the Arab world but also worldwide.  He has a website-https://www.khalifaqattan.com/about-khalifa-qattan/

Some of his work includes The Hypocrite’s Tongue-



The Great Responsibility-



Lick to Reach-


Storms-





And He Creates What He Doesn’t Know-


and The Deep Wound-


Lidia explained some of the paintings but as per usual, I had a heck of a time understanding her accent so I missed a bit.  She too has paintings but after seeing his work, which I think is similar to Dali’s, hers looks pretty amateurish.  She also does sculptures using mainly recycled products-


I bought a small piece of her art-


I look like a giant standing beside her-


There are very strict Covid rules one has to follow to get a tour.  First, a form has to be completed online about Covid.  Then, upon arriving, you have to sanitize your hands.  Mine are a bit cut up at the moment so she made me wear gloves.  We wore masks too even though Lidia’s was below her nose the whole time.  We had to either buy or rent slippers and we couldn’t go in with just socks, nor could we bring our own slippers.  So weird.  

After the tour, we walked back to the hotel through a gigantic park.  I stopped at the Memorial Museum which is a lovely building with not much in it.  I was most interested in seeing what they had to say about the Gulf War.  On July 17-18, 1990, Saddam Hussein accused Kuwait and the U.A.E. of producing oil above the OPEC quota and he threatened military action.  July 25, 1990, Iraq issued a formal complaint to OPEC.  August 2, 1990, Saddam invaded Kuwait.  August 8, 1990, Kuwait was annexed as Iraq’s 19th province!   February 6, 1991, Kuwait was liberated by the Americans.  That was all the information they had!  Lidia told us that she and her husband had been away on a holiday but returned just before the invasion and were able to protect their home.  Neighbours weren’t so lucky.  Iraqi families moved into nearby homes and when they left, they took everything with them.  She also told us that her daughter was potty trained at 9 months.  Is that even possible?

Later, Kelly, Leanne, Karen, Cynthia and I-


went to the Texas Roadhouse for a farewell supper for Leanne-


who heads back to Oxford tomorrow.  We will miss her very much as she’s been part of the crew, helping  Karen enormously.  After supper we walked to the Kuwait Towers which were built in 1979 and contain water tanks and restaurants.  The main tower is 614 feet high-


The lights of Kuwait-


What’s this doing here-


It’s Thursday night so the start of the weekend.  There was a lot of traffic and vehicles cruising-


I enjoyed my time here and the weather was so mild.  Tomorrow we return to Saudi where we will be until December 31.

P.S.








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