25-4-2015 until 16/5/2015
The gallery of umm al-Fahem Gallery presents a solo exhibition called “feelings” of the artist Mohamed Walid, the resident of Umm al-Fahem. The exhibition opening was attended by hundreds of residents of Umm al-Fahem and the region, in addition to a group of Jewish artists.
The exhibition includes more than a hundred paintings speak of dialogue and love, and a joint meeting between humans.
six solo exhibition
28/1/2015 – 31/4/2015
A Single Continuum
Curator: Carmit Blumensohn
Fatma Shanan’s works resonate with personal, familial, historical, cultural, and religious memories. Her paintings raise personal questions concerning one’s place in the personal, familial, social, and communal sphere, as well as social and political questions concerning otherness and difference, contrasts and identity, and the obsessive search for what is familiar, known, and safe.
The concern with the image of the carpet is a means of exploring the complex identity of a young Druze woman born in Israel, where Jewish society is generally characterized by a lack of openness to difference and to the other. By means of her concern with the image of the carpet and its integration into the lived sphere she depicts in her paintings, Shanan attends to the complex processes that construct her identity. This identity is woven out of values, ideologies, social codes and traditions, a sense of belonging, aspirations and dreams. Her art transforms
the presence of the carpet into a central theme, while showcasing a display of deeply moving beauty. This is her tactic for luring the viewer into her world.
These carpets represent a multi-cultural encounter that gives expression to the connection between tradition and innovation, East and West, Islam, the Druze religion, and Judaism, art and craft, tradition and the avant-garde. Throughout the Mediterranean basin, carpets weave a web of meanings and represent local traditions of hospitality; they may be associated with effacement, rejection, and concealment, since whatever is not agreed upon is metaphorically swept under the carpet; alternately, everything one is proud of is flaunted upon their surfaces.
Shanan does not transform her paintings into carpets, but rather represents carpets within them as distinct painterly images. Each painting is thus transformed into a weave whose quality as a “carpet” is similarly revealed when the painted image is a landscape, an olive tree, a floor, a pair of jeans, or a blouse worn by a girl lying on the floor. The brushstrokes flicker and dance together with the local light, which is present in all of her paintings. The earth, and the sky, the landscape are all familiar signifiers charged with a sense of home and belonging.
A carpet offers an invitation to dwell; it is a sphere of containment, an extension of the idea of home as opposed to the external sphere. During weddings and family celebrations, carpets are spread out over the nearby road to mark the location of the celebration. Carpets are similarly spread out in the courtyard to mark places for rest. Wherever it is spread out, the carpet constitutes stable base.
The dense, fleshy, sensual colors of Shanan’s canvases define them as a space of reflection. Color becomes a power in its own right, transforming the various existential components of the works into a single continuum and taking on a personal, autonomous character shaped by the artist’s love of painting. The images become abstract only if the viewer is willing to move beyond their mimetic role, beyond the figurative representations that anchor them, enabling them to be born and take off. From this point on, the sky is the limit, and the carpet – regardless of whether it flies into the heavens or remains affixed to the earth, constitutes a path, a trajectory, an entire world.
KARIM ABU SHAKRA- 24-1-2015
Karim Abu Shakra: the Unity of Human Being, Nature and Animals
“I had a wonderful childhood. Like other children of my age at that time, I used to spend my free time hiking in nature; I loved hunting, especially the black redstart birds, and I also loved fishing. The wonderful, complex moments of that time were when the fish was caught on the fish hook. I used to look at the fish fighting for its life, almost dead.”
Karim Abu Shakra presents scenes that include a unique combination between three elements: the human being, the nature and the animals. The Sabra plants, the birds, the fish and the animals are eminent in the paintings presented at this exhibition, introducing an autobiographical expression of the artist. In the aforementioned citation, the artist gives expression to an important philosophical idea: the unity of the human being, the nature and the animals, as in an equation that joins together the sky, the sea and the land.
It should be noted that Abu Shakra never plans where to locate these creatures in advance; they are intertwined associatively, as a part of the image reservoir of his childhood. In some of the paintings we can see a peculiar bird whose contours are blurred and which is located in an undefined place, or fish floating in amorphous space. Due to no specific reference to their location, these animals seem detached from reality.
Abu Shakra’s interweaving of subjects and symbols in his paintings is an expression of his inner world, a world he controls by symbols taken from the external world, such as the fish, the bird and the Sabra plant; it is evident that the artist’s experiences are related to these symbols and their meanings, and they all rise from the depths of the artist’s memory. These memories rise back to the surface in a sort of poetic style, without interpretation.
, Abu Shakra’s artworks can be considered as his autobiographies, as he himself notes:
“I paint without thinking and without planning what I’m going to paint. The painting’s theme stems from within me, but before I start painting I try to collect my memories. It’s important to say that I observe meticulously each and every bud or rock around me, and I sometimes enter a meditative state; for example, when I stare at the Sabra leaf for hours. And when I paint I notice nothing but my painting. Perhaps you can compare me to other artists that I either know or don’t know. Each thing that I see – I do not paint it until I feel it and it becomes a part of me, and all you see is a part of who I am.”
The notion of Unity of Man and Nature is reflected in the painting through the combination of what the artist sees through his eyes and what is happening inside him, thus creating a painting which is a part of his own body.
Karim’s inclination to continue painting the Sabra plant – a theme that occupied Asim Abu Shakra – can be considered as an expression of the influential encounter he had with Asim’s art and its impact on him; just like the impression that other experiences connected to hunting and nature made upon him, and which are also expressed in his current exhibition.
The works of Samah Shehada present us with a visual statement that stands at the heart of the seminal question in the world of contemporary art. This statement arises from the branched connections between the internal place, the personal, and the obligated frozen sketch, which documents. It is a sketch that sharpens the conflict between these two opposites and defines the feelings we have when making an important decision, which move between the personal to the professional world and between the internal and social. Shehada’s works showcase the balance of power in the family – the man and the woman – as she herself mediates between them. She invests true effort in the protracted work of sketching, giving her the opportunity and time to formulate her decisions and to connect the different elements of a willful and patriarchal society, which oppresses the individual and subjugates it to control and policing.
The work and expression Shehada employs in engineering her body take on significance from art, and from the dynamics that are developing beneath her internal skin, until they finally bestow a defined identity on her, and she moves on, via the pores of her skin, to cover the skin on the body of others – the body of children caught up in the conflict, of the girls she draws, of the oppressed and the displaced – and of her own, so that the drawing, precise in all its details, appears to be breathing, casting aside all forms of boredom or fatigue. Techniques that present internal universes of dreams that are of significance to the body and the death it carries within, are the hallmark of artistic proficiency. Realistic paleness, sunset, benevolence, fragility and panting, which define the limits of self-image via the burning light of the feverish sun, are easily recognized in her creative work. This is because the body, which can offer us a perspective of the Palestinian world, can undoubtedly endure the complex emotions that touch on facts of reality that she has felt and experienced. The new stage in Palestinian art connects the female artist to her works, not just as one that has created them. The artist herself, whose body may have been absent previously from the work, or merely represented, has been transformed into her art’s central topic.
Nidal Jabarin’s works of art oscillate from one phase of art to another, wavering between a loose form of Impressionism, and the sick bodies about which he speaks and holds up for discussion, while identifying with their suffering. The bodies look like ghosts rising up from the darkness to invade the silence of the night. It is against this background that his colorful, penetrative works are created, sometimes imbued with a pleasant, aesthetic appearance, at with one that is shocking and horrific at other times, while yet keeping true to the authenticity of his feelings and his devotion to what he does – and all of this from a vindictive and critical perspective on a torpid society that has awakened to a shallow dependence on the Arab experience, importing its content and shirking normative interpersonal human relations.
Cities and landscape are evident in most of Nidal’s works. The way he depicts them hovers between awareness and intuition, between Eastern and Western culture, between longing for a somewhat intimate city situated in a quiet place, and those packed with churches and ancient buildings graced by artistic architecture that enthralls the eye. He usually positions captivating elements like these in the center of a work, as though this constant presence were proving that he celebrates polar opposites and their unification at the same time, as though he were trying some way of transforming the urban presence into a foundation, the focus of everything revolving around him and that is a part of him. Perhaps this is his way of compensating for the absence of Western aesthetics. He introduces Western elements by merging Western attire into the Eastern landscapes he weaves, or uses Western language, techniques and climate to paint Eastern landscapes. The gradual transformation of technique and structure in Nidal’s work, results kin a construct of orchestral musical notation – like an enriched, synchronized musical score, which alternately disassembles and builds the work of art in accordance with methods of deconstruction.
Words, Glass, Fragments
In this exhibition, artist Zafar Shurbaji employs a variety of techniques in his works, and his personal imprint is evident in them. Despite the artistic techniques, the first thing that sticks out in the three works he shows, can be summed up by the three-word continuum: “words; glass; fragments.”
This sequence relates undoubtedly to the reality out of which the artist has drawn inspiration for many of his works and against which he protests with fervor. His protest finds expression in the way he elucidates reality’s unbridled madness, to our amazement, as he leads us to dangers that history has already experienced, but from which the requisite lessons have not been learned.
Shurbaji’s art does not stop at the checkpoint of reality, but crosses it in such a way as to cause the viewer to choke up and to make his brain the recipient of stimulating and disturbing signals, as a way of arousing awareness and fear in him. It would appear that the artist has used extremism to define his works in such a way that they break through the boundary of possible verbal expression – words he sees as proper and appropriate for diagnosing the reality of our lives here and now. This radicalization finds expression too, in his choice of techniques – the glass and fragments – as a way to deal with perceiving reality from his personal perspective.
Perhaps the forms of the words, chosen meticulously and with extreme caution, are an expression of strength, by means of which a complex reality has become an obsession haunting the artist’s soul. The words reflect the absurd existential situation in a way that is similar to that described in Samuel Becket’s play Waiting for Godot, including the metaphoric use of the expression that there is nothing to do about reality except for the possibility of distorting it using language, and with the help of its own rules and images, since reality has reached a dead end.
Works of this type have a very significant influence on recognizing reality; they clarify the question “Where are we headed?” in the most fundamental way. Nevertheless, a deeper issue continues to lurk in the shadows, and it is no less important: “What are we doing?” The reversal of roles and destinies is not the result of just language or words, as sharp, clear and damaging as they may be in the context of the harsh reality in which they are described.
Questions like these trouble the artist subconsciously, or perhaps he is totally conscious of them as he shows them to viewers and does not exempt them from the “duty” to linger over them and give them thought.
The way we cope with reality should point directly to the way we overcome it and cope with its destructive influences, social as well as political.
I cannot shake loose the overall impression that Shurbaji sees himself as an artist that can investigate the very personal nature of the general problem better than anyone else, an ability stemming from the presence of a “living pulse” in his works, among other qualities, which appears to be impossible to create artificially.
The artist, who foresees what will be, understands that it is impossible for whoever ignores the existential situation, to relate to the future. His investigation of realty has caused him to understand that ignoring the past as well as the weight of experiences with many connotations, does not lead to a brighter future.
A number of different perspectives are evident in Shurbaji’s works, and these serve as the basis for the artistic project he has built for us and himself. The works are rooted in a concept that places emphasis on the need to understand reality objectively, in order to honestly earn the right to vilify it. Using this as his starting point, Shurbaji creates his unique art, which we might call “the delicate balance that investigates reality and celebrates the beauty of the will.”