Sweet and Dry: The Beautiful Contradictions of Libyan Landscapes

Discover the sunset hues of Libya with artist Abdullah Hadia

"Mabroka" gathering Orange (2020) by Abdullah HadiaDesign Indaba

One winter in Libya, artist Abdullah Hadia sat eating an orange. With the sweet citrus juice in his mouth, Abdullah began to think, not just about the fruit, but about the orange tones found all over his country.

Orange is the general color of the vast Sahara Desert and its magical sand. More than 90 percent of the country is dry and arid, its beauty is in its vast rolling deserts and barren land. Libya is a country of dry winds and sandstorms. 

As Abdullah notes 'The orange color of the sand is connected to the ancestors, to old stories, to my grandmother’s memories.' 

What moved Abdullah most was the contradictions of two things, both of which are symbolic of Libya: dry deset sand and  sweet succulent fruit. 

This interest resulted in his work Mabroka (Gathering Orange) which depicts a young woman involved in the annual rituals of the fruit picking while the hot sun shines behind her. 

The young woman references Abdullah's grandmother's experiences picking oranges and the deep shades of orange throughout the work, link the fruit with the dry desert and the memories it holds.

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