Skip to Main Content

Palestinian Art: Al-Malhi, Al Mozayen, Anani

Jawad Al-Malhi

Jawad Al Malhi was born in 1969 in Shuafat Refugee Camp in Jerusalem. As a teenager he constantly sketched the landscape and the people in and around the camp, learning much about form and composition in the process. His early paintings were enormous and were often created on the sacks from UN distributed aid.

In 2000 he founded 'Open Studios', an ongoing arts education project in Shuafat Camp and a reflection of his underlying philosophy about the role of art and the artist: "Art should be for life and not just a thing done by an individual for his own gratification. It must have a social dimension so the artist does not become disconnected from his community and can give something back. The way I see it, this is how I pay my taxes."

Al Malhi had also started experimenting with sculpture and installation and had become fascinated by the technical and visual relationships between 2D and 3D.

This constant negotiation between knowledge and interpretation forms the relationship between artist and viewer and highlights a conundrum central to Al Malhi which is how his work can be equally accessible to both local [inside] and international [outside] audiences: "It gets a reaction from the inside because they can see it and understand it on all these different levels. It reflects an absolute reality to them. For the outside it is a work of art through which I would like to put them in the position of witness but if this is not possible I can at least create a level of curiosity."

Abdal Rahman Al Mozayen

Born in Kubyba in 1943, al-Mozayen's mother was an expert in the art of embroidery and while serving as a resistance fighter with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) he produced a number of political posters in the 1970s and 1980s, iconic works that incorporate a unique combination of embroidery, ancient history, and stylized figures.

Read more: arts#ixzz1Du6b5600

Using the complex symbolism found in Palestinian embroidery to communicate steadfastness, his references to Canaanite heritage testify to the ancestral roots and longevity of Palestinian art, an element that is paramount to combating the co-option of local culture by Israelis and the near erasure of historical evidence by the occupation. Simultaneously, his employment of embroidery is significant -- with occupational forces often clamping down on the displaying of flags or material related to the resistance, the art form evolved into an intricate coded language of signifiers used as an act of defiance.

Nabil Anani

Born in Halhul in 1943. Works and lives in Jerusalem. Nabil's work illustrates the profound relationship between art and nature. Making use of wood, animal skin, natural dyes the artist is experimenting in this style with new ideas, pieces with smooth curves harmoniously fit together as if in refined large-scale jigsaw puzzle creating subtle compositions.