Dr. Ahlam Alshedokhy

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Time: 13 April, 2020

Dr. Ahlam Alshedokhy

Artist and Doctor

After more than 25 years of studying and practicing medicine, I came to appreciate the presence of art in science and vice versa.

My artwork is based on taking a critical view of inherited beliefs and convictions with an emphasis on the individual versus the collective identity and the relationship between men and women in Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Ahlam Alshedokhy with Her father Abdullah Rasheed Alshedoukhy and her nephew Abdullah Adel Alshedoukhy at the opening of her exhibition Faces

I was born and raised in Riyadh. Both of my parents valued education and raised us to be ambitious and to respect values. They were both self-made and despite their limited resources we studied in private schools and we spent our summers studying languages and involved in sports.

We grew up loving each other as siblings, in the time before internet games we played together and spent time using our imagination.

Ever since I was a kid, I have been curious by nature and an independent thinker, never shy to seek out the truth by asking for explanations. When the time came to choose a career, as someone who has always found a thrill in challenges, I chose to become a doctor. In 1989 I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery from King Saud University.

After this, I achieved my dream of acquiring an internationally recognized degree, when I was awarded a fellowship specialty in the field of pathology from the University of Calgary, Alberta – Canada. For the next two decades I focused on my medical career as a consultant pathologist and an assistant professor.

My family has a major role in my life, my husband is a cardiologist who runs his private practice, he is my companion in life, travels, and art adventures.

My daughter is my close friend, a source of confidence and is a postgraduate student in international affairs at Columbia University in New York. Out of my two sons, Omar is a trusted advisor and works as an electrical engineer and my son Saif is finishing his political sciences degree, while being my long-distance business partner and constant support.

My artistic journey started with my post-graduate studies of the cells. The microscope being my first artistic tool and was the gateway to seeing the inner universe of the human body. Art for me was a mystery that needed unraveling. Through my experience as a physician I came to appreciate the presence of art in science, the significance of the shapes and forms of the human cells.

Combining my rich experience in medicine and art, I found a common ground in the layers of details, the complexity of existence, the beauty of life, and humanity without which art would not have a purpose.

My first exhibition took place five years ago. This journey started in Riyadh and from there I have exhibited in Dubai, Jeddah, Paris, and Hong Kong.

I was awarded the second place in the category of International Artists Award at World Art Dubai. In the past five years I have had three solo exhibitions which I am very proud of.

Currently I spend my time doing what I love, devoted to teaching medicine, travelling, and painting.  www.alshedoukhy.com

This article was first published in Arab News

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