“Although British, I spent my early childhood years, then my early twenties and subsequently the first ten years of marriage in the Middle East and so naturally, the rich Arabic culture has always held a particular fascination for me and ultimately, has had a profound influence on my art. As a dancer, I was first introduced to Sheherazade when I performed in the Ballet of the same name. At that time I was merely enchanted by the wonderful images of mosques and minarets; silks and slave girls; desert sands and djjins, conjured-up by Rimsky Korsakov’s beautiful score. Later I read the stories (as translated by Sir Richard F. Burton) and as I matured and became more aware of Arab women’s role in their society, I came to perceive Sheherazade, the heroine of The Thousand and One Nights, as someone sadly neglected in today’s records of women of achievement. Although a legend, all legends are based on facts and she was a woman of exceptional intelligence, wisdom and bravery who not only saved her life by the telling of a series of captivating tales but also, in doing so, educated a King. She is one of the rare examples of a woman depicted as a heroine in an Arabic country. I’m thrilled, therefore, to have the opportunity, by entering this show, to pay homage to her, in my own small way. In this painting (a large wall mural in acrylics on plaster, commissioned by an Arabic restaurant in London) I’ve placed the beautiful Sheherazade, dancing in a Bedouin setting, incorporating several symbols to portray her as I see her. These include: The crescent moon: a female symbol, of feminine power (the crescent moon is a symbol of Islam). Stars: symbols of Divinity, supremacy (Islamic); attributes of the Queen of Heaven, primarily symbol of Ishtar or Venus). Jewels: Amethyst – gem of healing. Ruby – gem of royalty, dignity, love, passion, beauty. Pearls –gem of the feminine principle, moon, waters, chastity and purity. Diamonds –gem of light, life, incorruptibility, constancy, sincerity, innocence. Third Eye: symbol of spiritual consciousness, transcendent wisdom. Hands: Right-palm out – symbol of blessing, divine grace and favor (also, Islamic: the Hand of Fatima represents the Hand of God). Left hand – Hands are one of the most symbolic members of the body — the hands are said to speak. Feet: symbol of freedom; the sole is the measurement of time”.