Narratives: Group Exhibition for Palestinian Artists telling life stories through artworks

By Nicola Gray

PNN/ Ramallah/

Zawyeh Gallery on Sunday June 14 will open an exhibition titled Narratives, featuring the works of the following Palestinian artists; Abed Alem, Ahmad Kanaan, AmaniHarhash, AsadAzzi, Irina Naji, JawadMalhi, MarwaNajjar, MaisaraBarood, Mohammad Khalil, Nabil Anani, Sana Bishara, Sliman Mansour and TayseerBarakat. The exhibition comprises different-sized paintings and an outstanding collection of sculptures. The show will be accompanied by a narration written by Nicola Gray and a catalogue containing images of works on display.

In the modern media-saturated, globalized world, it is part of the human experience to have an image bank in our minds and memories, both private and personal as well as public and collectively shared. Without such images, and the means to interpret them, we would be in a state of continuous amnesia, a condition in which we would struggle to find meaning and purpose.

All societies and ethnic and culturally connected groups share image banks of histories, stories and symbols. Palestine is no exception. Indeed, its image bank is richer and fuller than many and is shared and familiar across generations and the scattered and broken geography; the collective credit in this bank is rich and equitably distributed. Few explanations are needed, as the collective suffering and awareness in examples of such images are mutually understood.

Artists have mined this rich source of images in their personal and idiosyncratic visual languages, and continue to do so as they extend the boundaries and possibilities of media and meaning. The land and physical body may be subject to restrictions but the imagination can be a place and space of freedom and possibility. And of empowerment. Visual artists, in whatever medium they choose to use as a vehicle for their ideas, are uniquely placed in this regard.

 The images in the paintings, drawings and sculptures in this exhibition explore the historical legacies and traditions which are being slowly erased, the pleasures but also some of the horrors of Palestinian life, the contradiction of experiencing pain and hope in the same measure, the divisions and separations. Dancing can be a form of uplifting freedom for the body, but there is also a macabre dance that takes place between the occupier and the occupied, the oppressor and the oppressed. Iconic images of the voices of Palestine’s soul and its conscience, such as the poet Mahmoud Darwish, are instantly recognized. But the shared visual library of images that spoke of steadfastness, sumud, strength and defiance as well as the natural riches of the land, has been encroached by images of walls and checkpoints, now also iconic and similarly recognized by everyone. A collective bank of images and voices across time and distance reflecting Palestinian life in all its forms.

The group exhibition will take place June 14th 2015, from 7–9 PM, and will last till June 28th, 2015.