Zawyeh Gallery participates this year in Art Dubai, with the artworks of three Palestinian artists: Khaled Hourani, Sliman Mansour and Wafa Hourani. The artworks examine different manifestations of concepts of confinement, borders and connection in Palestine.
Khaled Hourani participates with works from his early project “Picasso in Palestine” which was organized in cooperation with the Van Abbe Museum. While, his “Picasso in Palestine #3” (oil on canvas), is a recreation of a photo of Picasso’s Buste de Femme (1943), exhibited in Ramallah in 2011 which appears with a Palestinian security guard. His “Picasso in Palestine, New York, 10013 291 Church Street” (Photography), is a reproduction of several layers of “photos of photos” of guards wearing several national customs guarding eventually a previous photo of the original Picasso painting displayed on the exhibition wall in Ramallah. In a third artwork a special focus is given to the process of shipping the precious artwork with a touch of sarcasm. In his project Picasso in Palestine, Khaled Hourani originally questioned a complicated loan procedure and endless negotiations between different parties in order to display a famous painting in the exceptional confined nature of the Palestinian reality. The project took new dimensions as it developed at a later stage, when the new reproductions delved further into examining the relationship between art and 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, its not all dim and gloomy, his “Temporary Escape” gives some hope that this transformation is only transient.
Wafa Hourani’s artworks remind us with the many political events that contribute to the shaping and re-shaping of the historic map of Palestine by colonial powers. Despite the colors, his delicate maps made from metal wires, silk and stamps on canvas, convey a feeling of emptiness; the very feeling that permeates the Palestinian people when comparing their daily realities of occupation with what the political agreements and deals claim to offer. Wafa focuses on the many political borders that divide the Palestinian geography into pieces making it impossible to connect within one geography let alone with the world. The stamps from around the world are used to color confined Palestinian cities like Jerusalem and Acre, bringing up questions about mobility and connection between different parts of a homeland divided to the hilt by occupation. In “A letter for her, a letter of fate” 1 and 2, he mixes photography collage with stamps and objects.