Palestinian Art in the Streets

'Palestinian Art in the Streets' is an exhibition that takes place on the streets of Venice, which celebrates and features 40 works by 13 Palestinian artists including Bayan Abu Nahla, Eltiqa Collective (Dina Matar, Mohammed Al Hawajri, Mohamed Abusal, and Raed Issa), Hadil Alsafadi, Halima Aziz, Hazem Harb, Heba Zagout, Khaled Hourani, Malak Mattar, Maram Ali, and Narmeen Hamadeh.

Bayan Abu Nahla, The News, 2022

Bayan Abu Nahla is a Palestinian artist based in Gaza. Working primarily with watercolour and pen and ink on paper, her intimate portraits capture the routine hardships of daily life in a land scarred by brutal occupation. Her most recent group exhibition, 'Ce que la Palestine apporte au monde' (Institute du Monde Arabe, Paris, 2023), commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Nakba via a series of works focusing on the vitality of Palestinian creation in the harshest of circumstances.

Hadil Alsafadi, Roots, 2023

Hadil Alsafadi is a Palestinian artist from Safad. Born and raised in the diaspora after her grandfather’s home was stolen from him, she works with digital media to create vibrant images full of longing for the homeland she is unable to visit. In 2022 she took part in 'Return Week III' (Palestinian Return Centre, London and Online, 2022), a series of exhibitions and events designed to tell the world that Palestinians will never, ever forfeit the right to return to their motherland and to establish an independent Palestinian State on the 1967 borders. The longest and most legitimate struggle in the world will not end until this dream comes true.

Hazem Harb, Gauze #22, 2023

Hazem Harb is a Palestinian artist now based in UAE. His work draws on academia and architecture, as well as European art traditions, to negotiate an axis of complex social and cultural relations, built and natural environments, longing and belonging. His most recent solo exhibition 'Gauze' (Tabari Artspace, Dubai, 2024) offers insight into the multifaceted significance of gauze material within Palestinian collective histories, inviting viewers to explore the profound connections between the material, the body, and the artist’s personal journey as a Gazan native in exile.

Khaled Hourani, Picasso in Palestine, 2019

Khaled Hourani is a Palestinian artist and curator from Hebron who now lives in Ramallah. His best known project 'Picasso in Palestine' (2009-2011) involved transporting a painting by Picasso from the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Netherlands, to the International Academy of Art in Ramallah, Palestine. Due to the extensive security precautions and negotiations and the legal and administrative restructuring required, a loan that would have normally taken a few weeks to arrange took two years. A film detailing the process was screened as part of Documenta 13, and drew attention to how the illegal military occupation and cruel apartheid system affects every aspect of Palestinian life.

Maram Ali, Will he give up his land?, 2024

Maram Ali is a Palestinian artist and musician from Irbid, Jordan. Initially, her paintings portrayed landscapes, which conveyed the emotive and sensory experiences of rural life and aimed to unite people through depictions of nature. More recently, her work has switched to reportage and portraiture, and now depicts the desecrated graves of martyrs and the thousands of children murdered in the last six months. In a recent Instagram post Ali wrote, "I never imagined that I would share such painful and atrocious images ... but these are my brothers".

Narmeen Hamadeh, CeaseFire on GAZA Now, 2023

Narmeen Hamadeh is a third-generation Palestinian refugee based in Saudi Arabia. Her early illustration work paid homage to her Palestinian heritage via a whimsical 'third culture kid' style of expression. Now, however, her work is also a form of activism and patriotism. Her digitally created prints incorporate masks and Instagram story filters that enable her to leave an Arab footprint by 'hiding in plain sight'. 'I am a proud Palestinian, now and forever,' says Hamedeh, who is determined that her people and their suffering will be seen.

Dina Matar (Eltiqa Collective), Summer of Gaza, 2017

Eltiqa Collective is Mohammed Al Hawajri, Mohamed Abusal, Dina Matar, and Raed Issa, a Palestinian artist collective from Gaza, currently split between Khan Younis and Rafah. Meaning 'To Meet and To Be Together', Etiqa finds ways to practise, produce, teach, and exhibit art under volatile and restrictive conditions. Their exhibition 'Question of Funding' (Documenta fifteen Kassel, Germany, 2022), continued to explore these themes. Prior to the opening of the exhibition, their space was vandalised, and their works were attacked by German media. During this last war, the Collective's exhibition space, Eltiqa Gallery, was also destroyed, along with their homes and artworks.

Malak Mattar, Thawra, 2020

Malak Mattar is a Palestinian artist from Gaza who now lives in the UK. She is known as the writer and illustrator of the bestselling children’s book Sitti’s Bird (2021), which was based on her experiences of life under occupation. During a recent residency at at An Effort (London, UK December 2023 – February 2024), she documented the genocide through a series of monochrome drawings and paintings. The work is a testimony to the apocalyptic horror and extent of the displacement, ethnic cleansing and atrocities being ravaged upon Mattar’s fellow Palestinians. 'It needs to be completely horrific,' she stated while making the work, 'otherwise it will not accurately reflect the genocide.'

Heba Zagout, My Children in Quarantine 2, 2020

Heba Zagout was a Palestinian artist from Gaza’s Al Bureij refugee camp. Killed in an Israeli airstrike, along with two of her four children, in October 2023, Zagout was known for her vibrant self-portraits and depictions of Palestinian identity. Her last solo exhibition was 'My Children in Quarantine' (Dar Qandeel for Arts and Culture, Tulkarem, Palestine, 2021), comprising paintings of her family friends in their homes and in front of the Old City. Speaking about the works Zagout said, 'I consider art a message that I deliver to the outside world . . . and to express the negative feelings, emotions, and tensions that occur in Gaza'.

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