Home Magazine A Collective Art Exhibition - Landscape in Palestine

Bab idDeir Art gallery presents the Collective art Exhibition December Happening, opened to the public from the 26th of November 2022 until the 20th of February 2023. 

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Art has always been used as a form of resistance against dictatorships, violent regimes, wars, walls, and human rights violations, and so it is for the Palestinians. Palestinian art has always played a role in documenting their history through the artists’ use of their personal and collective memories - representing homeland, heritage, displacement, and resilience.

Exhibition poster, courtesy of Bab idDeir Art gallery

Bab idDeir Art gallery in Bethlehem is one of the few contemporary art galleries in Palestine and it has taken advantage of the holiday season in the city to arrange its yearly collective exhibition. Indeed, during this period a lot of festivals and traditional celebrations are held, reflecting the city’s religious and historical relevance and its rich heritage which attract thousands of local and international visitors yearly The collective exhibition wants to cherish the season and celebrate it by the works of many artists. It tends to create a bridge between prominent artists and young ones who exhibit their works for the first time. This year, the exhibition is distinguished by the participation of the prominent Palestinian artists Suliman Mansour and Nabil Anani together with many others from different generations and backgrounds. The collection includes a selection of paintings, sculptures and photographs, some of which were produced specifically for the exhibition or are featured here for the first time.  

Nabil Anani, Untitled, 2022, courtesy of Bab idDeir Gallery

The exhibition embodies the Palestinian spirit and identity which reflect the political, social, and cultural contexts. Most of these artworks are focused on landscape-related themes since land and landscape are one of the most vibrant elements of Palestinian art aiming to recount important events, create relationships, and weave dreams and adventures. 
Generally, landscape art tends to be associated with natural scenes that feature hills, valleys, plants trees, and many other natural elements. On the contrary, in Palestinian art, the landscape is an inclusive subject that, beyond the terrain and its plants, depicts the family and the home, represents memory and belonging, tells stories, recollects history, and celebrates culture. 
More importantly, landscape paintings fall within an ongoing legacy that has been established by artists who, regardless of their age and experience, reflect on the Palestinian landscape in unique, authentic, and creative styles. Some of them have chosen to depict landscape scenery with a very emotional and historical purpose, whereas others have used landscape art to talk about the occupation and its impact on the ecological environment. Among the many works, some represent urban scenes and the local architecture of historical sites, while others depict iconic symbols such as olive trees and cactus plants using new mediums and styles.

Finally, the gallery is located in the old city of Bethlehem, a few meters from the Church of the Nativity, allowing an international public to visit the exhibition. Consequently, the focus on this theme and the selection of works appear intentional since Palestinian land and identity have long been provocative matters, especially for international visitors.  However, the themes and symbolism of many of the artworks exposed, present a new and different perspective on the Palestinian narrative, history, and culture.

Cover image: Sabreen Haj Ahmad, Snake of Palestine, 2022, courtesy of Bab idDeir Gallery

Written by Bab idDeir Art gallery

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