Pablo Picasso once described artists as political beings, constantly aware of the heartbreaking events happening in the world. “Painting is not made to decorate apartments,” he says. “It is an offensive and defensive weapon.”
For many artists from the Arab world who witnessed the war takes place in Gazaturning their art into a weapon became for them the only way to deal with tragedies.
A black and white print of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem serves as the backdrop for Emirati artist Aysha Almadhani’s latest work, which she shared on Instagram last week. On top, it is finely embroidered with flowers and olive leaves, punctuating the tones with bright hues of pink, yellow and green.
“The creation of this work of art was motivated by my fervent belief in the eventual freedom of Palestine,” she says The National. “This reminds us of our need for patience, as we trust in the support and imminent victory promised by Allah.”
She hopes this piece will instill in people the same conviction about the liberation of Gaza. “It is a response to the difficult days we have witnessed and a beacon of hope for all Arabs, reflecting the assurance given to us in the Quran.”
The work of Shereen Audi, who divides her time between Canada And Jordan, also serves as a symbol of hope. She has created numerous collages on paper, wood and canvas, notably With love for Palestine, in which she used images of lemons, olives, birds, jasmine, poppies and watermelons. These elements represent what Palestine is famous for and what makes it beautiful, she said, and the artwork has been widely shared on social media platforms in recent days.
She hopes these new pieces “will help draw attention to the situation in this beautiful country which only deserves peace and deserves to stay alive.”
With love for Palestine is one of her favorites, it gives “a sense of light in these dark times and a little hope to everyone,” she adds.
She donated a copy of the work to the Bawa gallery in Kuwait, which is hosting an emergency relief sale called Prints for Palestine. All profits will be donated to the Kuwait Red Crescent Society. The gallery collaborates with the research platform and the Mathqaf collective in Dohawho contacted the artists involved, and DubaiIt is Gulf Photo Pluswho participates in printing, packaging and shipping.
“The exhibition was carried out urgently, of course” Bawa Gallery says director Bandar Al-Wazzan. “Within a few days we had all the artists’ creations ready to go… This isn’t the kind of art show with a curation, it’s a rush sale. The subject is clear: highlighting Palestine. »
The sale had an internal goal of $10,000, which was reached on Saturday, just five days after its launch. In the meantime, dozens of other artists have submitted works to participate in the campaign. “We hope to include some of these new artworks in an expanded section of the sale,” says Al-Wazzan. “The sale will continue and we will do our best to collect even more donations. »
For those drawn to works that celebrate the country’s many symbols and vibrant culture, Audi’s pieces might catch your eye, says Al-Wazzan. “If you like more minimalist but powerful works, you can opt for that of Ahmed Alrefaie. The way back or that of Rua AlAwadhi Our return,” he adds.
Alymamah Rashed I am the one who changes destiny And Nourie FlayhanIt is A memory of Palestine present a more delicate aesthetic. Sarah Elawad With our soul and our blood and that of Mohamed Samir Free Palestine are brash and bold, and present bold calls to action.
Palestinian-Jordanian illustrator Aya Mobaydeen Palestine Models is also part of the sale. Like many of his works, it features motifs that have deep cultural significance for Palestinians. “They represent our rich history and remind us that our heritage will always be a part of who we are,” she says.
“I hope people will see some important messages in my works. First, how the world has failed the children of Gaza, not only seeing their suffering but also feeling it in their hearts. Second, the art represents the strength of the people of Gaza. Gaza as they resist the occupation.
After all, art raises awareness, says Al-Wazzan. “And that’s what we’ve seen by posting our artists’ creations on our platforms. People have been sharing and reposting in a way that I’ve never seen before in the last week.
“Every time a drawing is shared, it reminds those who are still not speaking out to do so and end the occupation in Palestine. »
Lebanese artist Said Elatab is no stranger to the way social media reinforces the message of a work of art. His work went viral last year when he gave the Palestinian-American model Bella Hadid a portrait of his father, real estate tycoon, Mohamed Hadid. He also gave her a piece called The rise of the Palestinian people and he has been painting scenes from the occupied territories for over 30 years.
Over the past three weeks, he has created several new works depicting the violence in Gaza, including one that took 10 days to complete.
He hopes that his abstract expressionism, inspired by Vincent van Gogh, will in one way or another help put an end to the “genocide committed by Israel’the army to the people of Gaza,” he said.
“I hope we make a difference and I have an impact on what’s happening,” he said.
Arab artists are not the only ones encouraged to share their work. Kostis Grivakis, professor of Greek art, who lives in Oman, publishes his latest works, as well as other older ones inspired by Palestine. With this, he wants to “show the world in a more poetic way how beautiful Palestine is and how unjust what is happening.”
Her style varies from pop art collages to pieces using upcycled and recycled objects. In one of them he combines an old map of Palestine with motifs of tatreez – traditional Palestinian embroidery art – olive branches and poppies, as well as a man riding a donkey, all framed by a series of figs on a bright red background.
“I have always been inspired by the beauty of the simple life,” says Grivakis. “I could have created works of art inspired by war, but life creates the most powerful images of current events every day. Instead, I chose to focus on daily life in Palestine.
“I wanted to show the world that we are all Palestinians.”
He says he feels a great affinity with the Palestinian people because they come from a Mediterranean island where life is similar to what they lived before the creation of Israel. “It is my duty to honor my grandfather’s love for olive trees,” says Grivakis. “It is my duty to honor my grandmother’s love of embroidery.
“This is my hope for the world. Seeing ourselves through the eyes of people who had a beautiful country and a beautiful life. In one way or another, my art asks people around the world: “What is more precious than living free in the country where you were born?” »
Another artist who draws on his connection to this land is Shadi Abou Sada, originally from Syria. “I paint what is contained in my childhood memories, which seem to repeat themselves in every generation, as if we are stuck in an endless cycle in this region,” he says.
Many of his works feature children eating watermelons, often used as a symbol of Palestinian resistance and that he began drawing in 2000. “The children in my paintings are symbols of the past, present and future,” he says.
“Amid their slender bodies and their smiles, between the pale white of their skin and the vibrant colors of the background, they present the contradictions with which we live every day.”
The collection affirms its support for the Palestinian cause, he says, because it “significantly intersects with our own plight in Syriain suffering and injustice.
As long as the occupation lasts, the watermelon factories will remain present, he adds. “As long as our children are deprived of their life in our country, I paint them as flat, without perspective or depth, as if to say: this image is direct, without interpretation or other meaning,” he adds.
“These are our last childhood dreams, lingering over empty plates filled with slices of watermelon.”
Updated: October 30, 2023, 3:03 a.m.