Art exhibition creates ‘a new conversation about Palestine’

Ranging from painting to sculpture and photography, From Palestine With Art, brings to London the vibrant work of 21 creators

From Palestine with Art exhibition P21 Gallery London
Nabil Anani’s In Pursuit of Utopia depicts the lush, green hills of Palestine adorned with olive trees. Photo courtesy of Nabil Anani

A new exhibition coming to London on 2 February will showcase the rich creative culture and heritage of the Palestinian people. From Palestine With Art, held at the P21 Gallery in King’s Cross, will highlight the work of 21 artists working in a variety of mediums, from photography and painting to sculpture and embroidery.

The event is the exhibition’s third rendition, after its debut at the 59th Venice Biennale in November 2022 and a second showing at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma in February 2023.

“Mainstream western media has not given Palestinian art the attention and recognition it deserves,” says Faisal Saleh, the show’s curator and executive director of the Palestine Museum in Connecticut. “Bringing this exhibition to London is an opportunity to create a new conversation about Palestine among the British public and introduce people to the vibrancy of Palestinian art.” 

From Palestine with Art exhibition P21 Gallery London
Sana Farah Bishara’s bronze sculpture Woman in All Her Moods. Photo courtesy of Sana Farah Bishara

The selected artworks explore themes of resistance, liberation and displacement, while celebrating Palestinian identity. Among them is a landscape painting from Nabil Anani’s series In Pursuit of Utopia, which depicts the lush, green hills of Palestine adorned with olive trees. There is also a bronze sculpture, titled Woman in All Her Moods, by Sana Farah Bishara. 

A photographic portrait from Faces of Resilience, a project by US-based Hanan Awad, shows a woman in traditional Palestinian dress, sitting in front of a punnet of figs. Also on display is Venetian Red, an abstract painting by renowned artist and activist Samia Halaby

From Palestine with Art exhibition P21 Gallery London
A portrait of a woman in traditional Palestinian dress from Hanan Awad’s Faces of Resilience. Photo courtesy of Hanan Awad

Halaby became the first woman to hold the title of associate professor at the Yale School of Art in 1972. Her work has been shown at institutions across the world, including the British Museum, The Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Arab World Institute in Paris and the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar.

Halaby is keenly aware that the current situation in Gaza, where an Israeli military assault has killed more than 25,000 Palestinians since 7 October, will be at the forefront of visitors’ minds. 

“I think people will be surprised by the variety on display and the richness of thought in the artworks, and they will come away feeling as though they have discovered a whole new world,” she says. “That’s very important during a time when they have demolished a magnificent city like Gaza, that has a millennia-old history of unique art and architecture.”

From Palestine with Art exhibition P21 Gallery London
Samia Halaby’s abstract painting Venetian Red. Photo courtesy of Samia Halaby

The exhibition also hosts work from artists based in Palestine. They include Taqi Spateen, who drew international attention in 2020 for his mural of George Floyd on the Israeli separation wall in Bethlehem, on the occupied West Bank, Rula Halawani, a photographer who lives in Jerusalem, and Mohammed Alhaj, an expressionist painter in Gaza.

At the request of artists facing challenging economic circumstances in the West Bank and Gaza, selected works on display will be available for sale.

From Palestine With Art will run at London’s P21 Gallery from 2 February-2 March 2024.

, , ,

Get the Hyphen weekly

Subscribe to Hyphen’s weekly round-up for insightful reportage, commentary and the latest arts and lifestyle coverage, from across the UK and Europe