It was the summer of 1996. The Royal Cultural Centre was a cool oasis in the steaming heat of Amman. I was given three weeks to exhibit my Jordanian inspired paintings. In the same building, a group of local painters were exhibiting their works. We took turns to visit one another’s work. One of the painters was Khaled Atieh, who was born deaf and speech-impaired in 1964 in Rusifa, a suburb of Amman. Communications between us was literally with hands and feet.

Khaled is a Palestinian, who lived in Egypt for a number of years when he was young. On his return to Amman, he trained as a carpenter at an institute for the deaf and speech-impaired. Since he was young Khaled has sketched and painted. For him this is the best way to share his feelings and thoughts. After working as a carpenter for several years, he switched his focus entirely to drawing and painting. Since 1986, he has taught fine arts at various institutes, including the University of Amman, where he has worked since 1993.

It was always one of his wishes to visit the country of Vincent van Gogh and Karel Appel. It would be an opportunity to draw inspiration from Western Europe and to compare colours and methods of working. A year after we first met, Khaled Atieh visited the Netherlands for a month in 1997 thanks to help from sponsors. To provide him with a platform in Europe, the website was launched.

In the meantime, the clock has moved on more than 15 years. Khaled is married and lives with his Syrian wife and son in Rusifa. His paintings have found their way to Western Europe. At his initiative, he has been joined on by his friend and colleague from Ramtha, Kassim Al-Refai. The two men are artists at different ends of the spectrum in terms of colour and emotion.

Enjoy the paintings on this website and don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like further information about a particular work. After all, most of the works on display are available in Driebergen in the Netherlands.”