Stills From Fleeting Images: Icons and Legends by Dodi Tabbaa (April 2007)


This show is entirely made up of new work, an experiment in digital-mixed media, and variations on a new theme.

My inspiration came one day while watching an old Hollywood movie starring Audrey Hepburn, a well known actress popular in the 50's and 60's. The charm of that period put a spell on me. I thought to myself, why shouldn't I capture the “stills” that I found most dramatic?

The idea of capturing an expression, pose or gesture—freezing a frame of film and snapping a moment rarely seen in still photography or magazines--gave birth to this show.

Capturing the moment on camera from a film resulted in hundreds of shots which I narrowed down to my favorites. These were categorized into several genres.

Next came composition and design. I tried to create my own storyboard cum mosaic resulting in one large image. Working with the help of the grid and a wide spectrum of colours resulted in large images of the stills divided many times into colourful, smaller and tinier grids.

Once satisfied with the compositions and color, I transferred them onto large canvas which gave the effect of a mosaic photo-painting with a shot of showbiz glamour and Andy Warhol pop bling.

The experiment continued with more of the icons and legends you will meet in this show. I included rock legend Elvis Presley, folk legend Bob Dylan, and iconic beauty Elizabeth Taylor as a child star. Moments from great movie epics like Lawrence of Arabia followed.

Still having fun, I moved on to the Arab cinema, capturing the expressive features of Leila Murad, a singer-actress from the late 40's early 50's. Then I rediscovered Shadia, Mohammed Fawzi, Farid Al Atrach, “star of the east” Um Kulthoum, prima donna of oriental dance Samia Jamal, and the living legend Fayrouz .

This show is homage to the beauty and style of their era that displayed such sophistication with simple means.
It is also an appreciation for the digital help I got from my simple Sony camera. Being able to create Warhol -like images, available for endless manipulation, has given me the opportunity to freely explore my interests in other media and art forms.

Yes, I love to paint but i also need to explore and experiment. This is a new phase resulting from two years of research, opening myself to inspiration from music, film, dance, color and images.

Dodi Tabbaa