16 –  26 November, 2020
Manarat Al Saadiyat (virtual), Abu Dhabi

Zawyeh Gallery participates this year in Abu Dhabi Art 2020 with the artworks of three Palestinian artists: Nabil Anani, Ruba Salameh and Sliman Mansour. The works examine different manifestations of concepts of confinement, borders and connection in Palestine.

Nabil Anani introduces new materials in his series “Olive Groves”, using natural desiccated plants, straw, and mixed media. His artworks capture an empty semi-arid landscape in which plants grow scarcely while olive trees thrive. The scenery of olive groves spreading over the horizon through the Palestinian landscape reflect the sturdy nature of this plant that remains rooted in the earth despite adversities.

In her recent artwork series titled “Tensegrity”, Ruba Salameh breaks the rules or rather breaks free from the authority of the art form. Salameh builds concrete structures of abstract arrangements compromised of geometrical shapes using cold pastel colors and distributing the shapes carefully and minimally on the canvas.

Yet, this monotonous harmony is disrupted suddenly and in a rather unexpected way. Salameh discretely introduces hordes of small chaotic ants crawling about in curiosity, assembling around the shapes as if trying to jointly carry them away. They gather in the corners as if stuck in search for their nest or are scattering around in conflicting paths. The artworks bring to mind a striking similarity of the notion of resilience of an indigenous population in a situation where their own living space diminishes continuously as a result of an incessant expanding domination by a colonial power. Slowly and discretely, the indigenous population daily motions transform to a form of disruption to the supremacy of the dominant power.

In Sliman Mansour’s artworks, the combination between areas painted in acrylic colors and areas of cracked mud is focal. This combination of two contrasting materials emphasizes the tension between the roughness of the mud cracks which is dominant, and the contrasting adjacent areas of smoothly painted acrylic colors. Mansour’s paintings could be a representation of the stalemate situation in the Palestinian current reality and the changes that permeate the nature of Palestinians as people. His figures as if transforming slowly and discretely from being colorful and vibrant into disintegrated and fragmented characters broken into colorless pieces. Yet, it’s not all dim and gloomy, his “Temporary Escape” gives some hope that this transformation is only transient.

Ruba Salameh, Urbahn Pink (2020), acrylic on linen, 146 x 178 cm
Ruba Salameh, Carmel (2020), acrylic on linen, 128 x 183 cm
Ruba Salameh, Tangram (2020), acrylic on linen, 111 x 111 cm
Ruba Salameh, Malaga (2020), acrylic on linen, 119 x 129 cm
Ruba Salameh, Ants Work (2005), acrylic on canvas, D120 cm
Sliman Mansour, Survival (2018), mud on wood, 120 x 120 cm
Sliman Mansour, Absent Presence (2018), mud and acrylic on wood, 145 x 110 cm
Nabil Anani, Olive Groves #1, 2019, mixed media on canvas, 112 x 100 cm
Sliman Mansour, Holy Land (2019), mud and acrylic on wood, 110 x 100 cm
Sliman Mansour, Absent Presence (2019), mud and acrylic on wood, 140 x 100 cm