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 A WOMAN can never have enough shoes, a fact that men never seem to understand, and for some, the bond between a pair of high heels and their owner is unbreakable.

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Syrian artist Safaa Alset explores this bond in her new exhibition at Saks Fifth Avenue in the Bahrain City Centre, which features 25 shoes created out of copper, iron, metal bolts, coils and metal sheets.


Entitled Shoe the display is intended as a double entendre from the Arabic meaning "What do you want?" - a popular phrase in the region.

"My sculptures reveal my personal relationship with shoes, the fascinating bond between women and shoes, the way they express femininity, their sense of fashion and their representation of the social status, " said Ms Alset.

"So the exhibition is about this secret relationship."

Her designs have been inspired by stories and the women she has come across in her life.

"I create my own shoes inspired by stories I hear, things I see around me in the nature and the women I'm surrounded with, with their endless hidden stories, and aspirations, " said the artist.

"My other work has been inspired mostly by nature with all of its components, trees, grass, flowers and birds, as a metaphor to the feminine and aesthetic aspect of them."

Ms Alset has a Bachelor's degree in graphic design from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Damascus University and worked as a graphic designer before she shifted towards sculpture and using iron as a medium for her artwork.

"I use metals in my artworks, specifically iron and copper, " she said.

"I know the common perception of metal is spiritless, rough and hard to handle, but I try to transform the hard nature of the metal into art that is alive and flowing."

Ms Alset was chosen to showcase her work by Saks Fifth Avenue and Albareh Art Gallery due to a recent new trend of displaying art and fashion together.

"The new trend internationally is going now towards showcasing art and fashion together, you can see a Chanel dress beside a Monet painting in a museum and so the collaboration came between Albareh and Saks Fifth Avenue to exhibit my work and it's a new experience for me, " she said.

The artist admitted response to her iron creations had been slow as people did not know how to approach her work.

"At the beginning people were unfamiliar with art made of iron, created by a female artist and the idea of how to display it at their houses was rather unfeasible for them, " she said.

"However, in time they got used to the idea and now they come to see my exhibitions and new artwork."

The shoes are of various sizes, shapes and designs, with different degrees of difficulty required to create each piece.

"The time taken to create each shoe varies, according to the size, idea, shape and difficulty and so some pieces will take four days and others might take up to two weeks, " said Ms Alset.

Her exhibition was first displayed in Damascus in March and as for the future she plans to keep admirers of her work in suspense.

"I have many plans and ideas that I'm currently working on for the future, but let's keep the surprise element and so you will have to wait and see, " she said.

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