Tuesday, May 02, 2006

palestinian art show in london

Tayseer Barakat: Untitled
The exhibition “Occupied Space: Art for Palestine” promises to be one of the most exciting art shows to be held in London this spring. It is heartening to see the array of leading British artists who have aligned themselves with their Palestinian counterparts for the show, to be held at Gallery 27 in Cork Street from May 15 to 20.

In all, 54 artists are participating in the exhibition, which is organised by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC) with support from the A M Qattan Foundation. Some are London-based Palestinian artists who have already made a big impact on the international art scene, such as Gaza-born Laila Shawa and Beirut-born Mona Hatoum. A number of other Arab artists based in London are also taking part, such as the Egyptian Ahmed Mustapha, and Iraqi Maysaloun Faraj.

The exhibition website says the show aims “to show that despite difficulties experienced over many years, Palestinian artists of all generations are producing significant, exciting work in all media.”

The show is an encouragement for artists working within Palestine, including such well-known figures as Vera Tamari, Suleiman Mansour and Tayseer Barakat. Also represented are up-and-coming young artists who are “producing work of astonishing quality under the challenging conditions in the Occupied Territories.”

Some of the biggest names in British painting are featured in the show, among them Maggi Hambling, Dinos Chapman and David Gentleman. A work by John Keane, who was a war artist in the 1991 Gulf war, entitled “Security/Impunity/Geometry & Terror” and reproduced on the exhibition invitation card portrays the Israeli “security wall”.

The participation of so many British artists in the exhibition is proof that, despite the increasingly beleaguered existence of the Palestinians, there is much sympathy for the Palestinian cause in British cultural circles.

All works in the exhibition are for sale, and those artists from outside the Occupied Territories have donated their work. Proceeds from the sale will go to the artists from Palestine taking part in the exhibition, and towards PSC projects in the UK. And Leila Shawa has made available for sale a limited edition of 100 prints (at £75 each) of her painting “Jerusalem” which was displayed as a poster at Piccadilly Circus underground station in 2002 as part of London Underground’s Platform for Art Programme.

Susannah Tarbush Saudi Gazette May 2 2006

John Keane: Security/Impunity/Geometry & Terror (2)


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