September 20 – September 27, 2014
Distant Voices is Tayseer Barakat ’s first solo exhibition in Palestine since 2009. The exhibition brings together over 20 stunning new paintings (a fine mix of acrylic on canvas and water colors) that are a timeless reflection on life in Palestine and the region.
“Distant Voices is about our collective experiences as human beings. Many of the pieces are simple meditations on the human journey. Whether it is cavemen in the Pyrenees or young people in Gaza – they are entwined by the commonalities of life and our struggles for survival and justice,” states Barakat.
Tayseer Barakat ’s work connects the audience with their recent and distant pasts. The juxtaposition of ancient cave-like paintings of people and animals with modern images of war machinery makes eerie viewing. In his Life Series paintings, haunting images of war – silhouettes of helicopters and parachutes – are often surrounded by etchings of animals in flight and people scurrying for safety.
“Discord and conflict remain ever-present in our region; a region that is full of paradoxes and contradictions – beset by enduring loss and pain,” he observes. Yet Tayseer Barakat remains hopeful and is full of love for the sublime beauty of Palestine and the energy and steadfastness of its people. And it is that beauty and energy that inspires him to continue his work.
“I have lived at a distance from family and friends for nearly all my life. Indeed, it has been over 15 years since I visited or have been allowed to visit Gaza. I consider myself internally displaced – removed from my loved ones. As I look around me, I hear the distant voices and cries of Gaza the loudest.”
Tayseer Barakat states that while he respects many artistic schools – which he has studied – he draws mainly on the artistic influences and heritage of the region. As such, the use of color is modest and his techniques are extremely refined and delicate. Barakat rarely starts with a preconceived idea; rather, he interacts respectfully and wholeheartedly with his materials to formulate seamlessly remarkable and exquisite work.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Barakat’s new paintings convey a thousand voices. His work is homage to life and its struggles in Palestine and beyond.