My father was director
of the oasis culture center. When he saw that homes were being torn down, he decided to establish a museum, because visitors to the oasis wouldn’t be able to see the demolished houses. He said we should create a museum for visitors to the oasis. At first, the museum had only one room. Every time he had a new idea, he’d expand the museum, until it became 15 rooms. He built this museum on his own,
with his bare hands. All his work was inspired by oasis heritage;
it all came from nature. He liked old people, old women. He’d talk with them and learn from them, and translate these ideas in the museum. There were houses here,
like you saw, and the houses would be grouped together and open onto each other,
just like the museum. People just lived together naturally, not like now, it’s all ruined. My dad traveled abroad and people would see him work, in exhibitions with people from all over the world. Everyone would be working, but people would gather around him, because he made things… he would draw with sand,
and make things out of clay. A figure would take him less than a minute to make. When you watched him work, a figure
took him no time at all. When he died, I wasn’t thinking
about the museum at all. I was working elsewhere. I worked in a shop for about a month. I wasn’t paying any attention to the museum,
I’d only pass by quickly. The museum fell into disrepair and the wind knocked the furniture
over. I saw it in this state and I felt sorry for it. He didn’t teach me. When he’d work, I’d take a piece of clay and make a figure. We’d do as he did, and learned to do the same. Then I started to work, and learnt new things like sculpting, sculpting with stone which I hadn’t learned, because he rarely worked with it. He didn’t teach me this technique. But I got stone and started learning, and I did well. If I want to make a panel,
the first thing I create is a small house. Then more ideas come to me.
I start without knowing what I’ll do. I get a wood panel ready
without knowing what I’ll do with it. Girls come to me for help with painting. They enter competitions and
come to me with clay and we work on it. Some people paint, but they all use manufactured colors, no one uses sand. I get this sand from the desert mountains. We get all the colors.
I have red, yellow, green, and purple. All the colors. Each color comes from a specific place. Green, for example, we get from
a place called al-Managem, which is at the edge of the oasis. Some people come and don’t take anything. Some tourists discover the museum by chance and come in. Some tourists come to the oasis and leave without
knowing there’s a museum here at all. Even some people in the oasis
don’t know there’s a museum here, really, I swear.