Two Hundred Palestinian Artists Exhibiting Works During Dubai Art Week

Artists from Gaza and the West Bank are highlighted in the Emirates.

Jamal Al Mahamel II (2005), by Palestinian artist Suleiman Mansour
Photo: Courtesy Alhoush


Through art and design exhibitions, music, dance, and theater performances, and film screenings, “This Is Palestine“—organized by Alhoush, House of Arab Art and Design, and running until 19 March at Dubai’s Meydan Theater—offers a different take on the typical news headlines coming out of the occupied country.

“When you mention the word ‘Palestine’ to anyone, the first thing that comes to mind is something negative, such as violence, occupation, refugees or terrorism,” says Heba Aly, communications manager at Alhoush. “Yet there is a thriving cultural history and tradition that often remains untold. We want to highlight that side of Palestine.”

A seminal work by Palestinian artist Suleiman Mansour, Jamal Al-Mahamel II (Camel of Burdens), is on show. The original work, which depicts a porter carrying Jerusalem on his back, was gifted to the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi by the former Libyan ambassador to London. It was destroyed during the 1986 American bombing of Libya and so Mansour re-created the piece. The painting will be auctioned off at the end of the festival, with proceeds going towards the support of artists in Palestine. Other Palestinian visual artists exhibiting their works at “This Is Palestine” include Abdelraouf Al-Ajouri, Shareef Sarhan, Shaleh Abu Shindi, and Dina Mattar, among 200 others.

Exhibitions staged throughout the festival include “Designers In Diaspora,” which features jewelry, accessories, and furniture designs by emerging talents from Gaza and the West Bank; “This Is Also Gaza,” a photography and painting exhibition by 100 artists from the city; and “Tracing The Spirit of Jesus,” a Muslim photographer’s take on the Holy Land. The idea for “This Is Palestine” was born from the 2012 exhibition, “This Is Also Gaza: A Celebration Of Contemporary Visual Arts From The Gaza Strip,” which Alhoush staged in Amman.

“It’s a movement that is growing,” says Aly. “We hope to do the same for Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, among other countries, to empower the Arab cultural scene. This kind of change in global perception is incremental.”


This story originally appeared in Canvas Daily, an artnet News content partner.

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