Gaddafi's artist son shows off paintings in Moscow

Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:36pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Amie Ferris-Rotman

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Artist and reformer Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the Libyan leader's son credited with brokering Tripoli's stand-off with the West, kept Russian relations warm on Monday when he showed off his paintings.

"It is good here, we are friends," said the shaven-headed 38-year-old, before guiding Russian officials through the exhibit "The Desert is Not Silent," made up of around 50 of his own paintings along with Roman and Libyan antiques.

Traveling through western cities from London to Montreal over the last eight years, the exhibit is a tribute to the rich landscapes and animals of Libya, said Saif al-Islam, who was educated in Britain and has a fondness for pet tigers.

"Paper Tiger," from 2001, depicts his beloved, now-deceased big cat Fredo clawing his way out of a white canvas. Many others show the outlines of pre-historic animals spread across the golden and crimson hues of the Libyan desert.

"This is to show our Russian friends that not only do we buy weapons and sell gas and oil, but we have culture, art and history," Saif al-Islam told reporters as a Libyan folk ensemble clad in silk slippers blasted out music.

But three of the paintings highlight conflict with the West.

"Intifada," also from 2001, features a young fist clenching a stone with splashes of blood. News clippings of an Israeli raid and a Palestinian funeral have been glued over thick oil paint. "War" features the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999.

2000's "The Challenge" depicts cross-touting crusaders on the shores of a desolate beach, with a sepia picture of his father Muammar Gaddafi looking down defiantly from the sky.   Continued...