My Story

Grab a drink, Enter my studio and enjoy!

 

 

 
 
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 More than a painting,

your connection to divine peace 

 

Hello

I am Merna Liddawi, an award-winning international artist living and working on the South Coast in the UK. I was born in Amman, the capital of Jordan in the Middle East, to an Orthodox family. My dad was a Doctor and my mum is a stay at home mum. As a child, my parents would take me to church every Sunday with my sisters. 

Through my childhood, seeing the beautiful interior of the church every Sunday sparked in me feelings of mystery, transcendence and deeper spirituality. The sacred art of the icon, the chanting music and the smell of incense drew me deeper into experiencing beauty in its fullness.

I was inspired by my dad's amazing Arabic calligraphy handwriting and his passion for anything creative.  I wasn't exposed to any art in Jordan and the first painted images I saw were of the saints and Christ in the church and few paintings that hung in our living room. 

I left Jordan after my Dad's sudden death and went to Egypt to study Science, as art wasn't an option in our culture.  While in my room one day feeling lonely, I picked up a pencil and copied a small portrait picture I had in my purse. I had a huge surprise and I discovered for the first time that day that I can draw. My love for art was born. 

 After a long career in teaching maths, IT and English,  I pursued my passion for art and dedicated over 7 years focusing on studying art. Finally I got my BA in Fine Art, followed by MFA (Masters in Fine Art) with distinction.  My years of studying were a life-changing experience. I didn't want to go back to a 9-5 job, so I didn't. I've been a full-time artist ever since.

Over the many years I made art I discovered my true calling to add peace and beauty to this world. 


What I learned in my research of the sacred art is how the process of painting the icon is a prayer, a time of stillness, a ‘Selah’ moment; a moment to pause, be still, reconnect an pray. 

As a mother of 3 hyperactive boys and a dog, Oh and my husband, it's hard to find this 'Selah' moment.  Being in the studio gives me the space to stop, pause and pray; to experience my 'Selah' moment and to appreciate beauty. It is time to learn to trust the creative process and face my fears. It's a journey to grow spiritually.

Creating quiet space in us and around us has become more challenging, un-natural and even impossible. 

My paintings are an invitation to remind you of your spiritual moments; a reminder to stop, pause, reconnect and pray. A reminder to enjoy beauty within yourself and around you in the world you live in; to experience inner peace, and beauty in a world full of noise.

 

 

 

Experience inner peace, and beauty in a world full of noise.



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The process of painting 

 

My process uses unique Byzantine and early Renaissance techniques of egg tempera, gilding and .....


Resume

Exhibitions

2018

Be Still', Community Church, Forest Row, UK SOLO

Artrooms Fair, Church Palace Hotel, Rome

Artrooms Fair, Melia White House, London

The APS Mdina Cathedral Contemporary Art Biennale, The Mediterranean: A Sea of Conflicting Spiritualities, Malta

Awards and Competitions

2017 'Lorenzo il Magnifico' painting award at Florence Biennale

2017 Shortlisted for Trustees Award, West Dean College, UK

2016 Winner of ArtGemini Painting and Sculpture prize, UK

 Academic

  MFA (Masters in Fine Art) Distinction, West Dean College, Chichester

 BA (Hons) Fine Art,  Northbrook College, West Sussex