Door To Life

Text by James T. Bennett

Pacita Abad: These paintings were based on a trip that I took to Yemen in 1998. The trip to Yemen was a dream. In Yemen, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the doors of houses, buildings and places of worship. I spent fascinating hours walking around alleys and streets of cities and villages, just looking at the houses and their doors. The doors come in an array of materials, colors and designs. I was more partial to the steel doors than to the wooden doors, as they were painted in strong, loud, pure colors softened by the sun and the sand. I was also attracted to their design, as in many instances, the doors were covered with colorful symbols such as hearts, flowers and Islamic verses.
I made many sketches with pastel crayons, most of them abstract images inspired by the symbols, graffiti and images on the doors. The sketches were all done on 30 x 30 cm paper and later transferred to canvases the same size. This is why, except for the eight large works, my doors are square.
The days in Yemen were a non-stop creative challenge, every day a new idea, every day a new door. I was always rushing to finish one door and then I was drawn to the next door. I always wished that I had more time, always more time. My stay in Yemen was incredibly stimulating, yet too short, and I eagerly look forward to my return.


115 pages, 105 color plates

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