June19, 2006 - "Katrina Artist"

A distraught mother carries her children to safety. The Katrina image was taken from a news photo. Behind the emotional painting is a native of France who now makes her home in Baton Rouge. Saliha Staib creates both representational and abstract paintings, devoting most of her time recently to the abstract.

"I think the work is much more richer when I paint abstract," she says. Saliha's abstracts are characterized by their painstaking layered effect. "When you first look at the painting," explains Saliha, "you can probably think it's finished, it's over, the painting is over. I paint over the painting to make it get back and leave just a certain part coming up."

The technique adds hours, even days, to the work. And it was with that same devotion that she turned her attention to Katrina.

She says she wanted to create images more permanent than news photos. "And I took especially these two pictures because they're very pictorial, you know. You saw them everywhere. I think in ten or 20 years the painting, it will still be here."

They are mages no one could forget.

Saliha Staib's art is available at Ann Connelly Fine Art Gallery on Jefferson Highway near Government.