Known as “Sayed al-Mokh” (Brainy Sayed), he has been working in the profession since he was 15 years old. He never went to school, but learnt to read and write through contacts with people. He did not inherit a family business, and he apprenticed with several professional craftsmen as a young child. He holds one of them, Muhammad Hussayn, in particular esteem for his mastery of the Pharaonic style. He stayed with Mohamed for almost 30 years, and when he passed away, Sayed took on several specialisations, including carving, turnery and different architectural ornaments.
He has enjoyed his craft ever since he was a child. He would go to his mother and tell her, I want to be an artist. Later, he realised that rather than considering himself an artist, he sees doing this particular profession as his destiny decided by God. His son works with him as well, mostly in architectural decorations. In his workshop at the top of the Darb al-Ahmar Street, at the foot of the Citadel, Sayid makes mainly alabaster statues, but now he also produces a rather unusual commodity: kerosene lamps crafted in alabaster, which nobody else supplies to the market. In past years, he also worked with companies in the building industry, for which he produced detailed scale models, and did wall finishes, flooring, staircases and kitchens details.
He recalls his time in Saudi Arabia, where he spent 25 years working alongside other nationals such as Filipinos, Sri-Lankans and Indians. He worked in the royal palace throughout the reigns of Kings Faisal, King Khaled and King Fahd. There, he developed his skills in carving and turnery, but mostly he worked on architectural finishes.
In the KEEPitREAL! project, Sayed Hussayn collaborated with Vincent Voillat.