Dr. Sami Marzoogi was born and raised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 1947. He is a graduate of the Medical University of Berlin, Germany and currently works as a fully-qualified anesthetist. He has been drawing and painting for the last 30 (??) years, entirely self-taught. While words and object figures dominated his earlier period, he subsequently leaned towards the more conceptual abstract, creating his own Expressionist-influenced style.

The main influence in Dr. Sami Marzoogi’s use of colour in his art comes from a fascination with nature. It began with viewing images of Europe as a child, the green spaces new to his eyes that had only ever seen Saudi’s desert landscapes. Marzoogi’s enthusiasm developed at school during art classes. “There we were given paper or canvas, and colour, and we were told we could draw or paint whatever we wanted. The teacher made us aware that we had to look, and that shape is not something without control. He taught us that if you want to express something that you have seen on paper, there are certain rules you should consider.”

Around this time, Marzoogi was also intrigued by the elaborate doors and houses in the Old Town of Jeddah and completed a 1 metre by 1.5 metre painting of a carved door. “This was the one time my teacher was really concerned that the dimensions and the shape of the picture were correct, as well as the colours. And this was the first piece of work that I sold.” 

  - METHOD  

Over the years, Marzoogi has experimented with different media, from watercolours, to acrylics, pastels, gouache, and ink. In his earlier paintings, he favoured pointillism, creating myriad dots filled with light and energy to give the viewer opportunities to dwell peacefully upon the images and, as such, his paintings are a complete visual experience. Marzoogi has also started working on large canvases with acrylics, and is keen to try painting on large-scale papers and canvases.

When he returned to Saudi Arabia from Germany, he found artists were talking a lot about calligraphy. They were using it in paintings in a way that the words could be read, but nonetheless were calling it ‘art’. “But calligraphy is for reading, it is not for painting,” argues Marzoogi. His interest in calligraphy as an art-form increased when he came across artists who were using it in their paintings as a shape, with no interestin its meaning. He poses rhetorical questions: “What is calligraphy? It is nothing other than a line. What is a drawing? It is a line. What is a point? It is the start of a line. If you make lots of points near to each other, they make a line. So, if you draw, you are making lines; nothing else. If I use calligraphy in my art, I am not interested in whether it can be read; I am only interested in it as a line. If these letters are considered only as lines, they can give you unlimited shapes.”


As a medical practitioner, Marzoogi has a scientifically-inclined mind and considers painting to be a 

science: “You have to learn a technique, you have to learn about the materials you are using and what 

you can and can’t mix together. The difference is that with these materials, you are expressing something 

more than science. One day, someone asked me: ‘What is the difference between science and art?’ I 

replied: ‘Feeling.’”

Marzoogi is currently working with acrylics on large canvases, applying a single, bold colour. The results are striking, abstract images. “I am still busy with exploring lines and letters; I want to control the colour, and see what effect I can achieve. What I enjoy about painting is the exploration of what is reality. I am constantly surprised with something new, whether it is the colour, or form, or a combination of all that I am doing. Often when I thought I was painting something with no particular idea, I look at the finished work and find that I have drawn something that is real, and that is in my memory, and something which I know.”

Finding the time to pursue his passion is not easy, but his plan is to retire in a few years and devote more time to his painting. He is currently planning a retrospective exhibition of his work.


 METHAPHORS ( إستعارات ), atelier Jeddah 2008

Private Exhibition, atelier Jeddah 2006

Private Exhibition, atelier Jeddah 2005

Private Exhibition, atelier Jeddah 2004 

Private Exhibition, atelier Jeddah 2003

Private Exhibition, Art Elysee Printemps Center 2003