The Jasmine and Bread Revolution-Paintings-2012.
In these times, and specifically what is happening in the Arab street of great popular revolutions, called the “Arab spring”, in which the masses seek to change the reality of life and improve their living conditions in a touchable way, my reading of these revolutions summarizes them as a picture of a beautiful and innocent image of a “bright white angel’s dress brocaded with colors of jasmine and henna”, knitted threads of those bodies and voices that have long called for social justice and intellectual pluralism, democracy and human liberation in this time of contemporary political ordeals; that's what I thought at first, and my dream at that time was that this determination would win and achieve in a peaceful way what it sought by the demands for humanity and life and democracy. Today, however, I say in fact that the negative role of the Arab and Western media, without specifying them, has an evident impact on the understanding of these events by creating a media problem of large scale by mixing the papers and providing these images to the public in a framework of foggy media surrounding the events, and changing the real scenario of a drama scenario which many times is occupied by fiction, and transfer the victim to the executioner, and this is what I see clearly today. And all of the above-mentioned I can no longer recognize as such or believe in of what I see today, not as in the very beginning. And my vision for this image becomes clearer because it is the result of my personal concept and my personal analysis, with more conviction than that I see on the TV screens; I felt in that moment that this beautiful dress knitted with jasmine and henna has changed colors and has become dim. The images of this situation, drawn by my fantasy, are those of “the season of planting these beautiful spring flowers harvested before being planted and their shoots uprooted in their infancy without uprooting the old thorns that fill the curbs of the sidewalk. there are now two faces of reality in my personal concept. The first face is about someone who has recently become only one-eyed, and wearing a mask and a gas mask on his face and in his hand holds a teargas bomb and a flower. The second face, which is the most dangerous, is wearing a colored smiling false face and playing on the strings of bullet. This contradiction in meaning and content of the general image inspired me and pushed me, as an Arab artist, to contribute by presenting my special artistic vision in its independence and with more conviction without being absolutely aligned to the governing party, but my alignment always on the side of the Arab people in aspirations and realizing its dreams. The “Bread and Jasmine Revolution”, a name I launched for my project in the year 2012, is a summary of a forming vision and real drama which keep up with the achievements the Arab revolutions are seeking to realize today.
Dream in Black And White. 2011
Their number is rising; today more and more statistics received and registered by the institution for the defense of children’s rights in the occupied territories has been shown that only in 2010 more than 1000 children under the age of 17 from Jerusalem are languishing in the prisons of the occupation, especially in such circumstances and times, and they are not able to express their rejection of it or to defend their own rights.
Their dream has gone far away because of their position in between the hammer and the anvil.
It means between the hammer of the occupation and war, persecution and torture on the one hand and on the other hand between the anvil to accept the current conditions of their lives and cope with it and live without the ability to change it, especially when they are marginalized and vulnerable and
underestimated and their role is converted from the other parts and different points of view to the scene of large handmade dolls hold by many strings, just as many as there are commands to which they must obey, and dismissing their humanity psychologically and socially they are put in the range of easy approach for big hands to play with them and to servitude and to form them like fresh clay to serve a belief or an idea or affiliation, and the use and exploitation of young potential and involvement in patent their ideas in a quagmire of illusions and replacement of playing and fun with grief and sorrow, heavily, bitterly perched on their soft shoulders, in order to obtain the objective of obsolete low-cost values and results, and make them vulnerable and the interface and victims of the wars in many cases that arise primarily in defense of personal or ideological ideas attributed to the direction of who doesn’t care or turns them to human shields to protect their goals are not interested in them as their own destinies are construed from the results of psychological and social consequences.
In my new project I’m handling many of these important events and coordinates that you will find in my artworks in formula to express the concept of compulsory binding or restriction and suppression of freedom of today’s childhood, the same strings, which are moving them, are also crippling and strangling them at the same time.
(HAJEZ ALSOUT) 2009
Mohammed Joha 2004
Member of group (windows from Gaza for contemporary arts).
Joha’s artistic power is fuelled by his curiosity and spontaneity. A power that enables him to assemble the details and elements of his work, resembling a child’s spontaneity as he defines the essential elements needed for building the first steps of the ladder of his dreams. Joha spent a long time inspecting the secrets of what he calls the “ideology of simplicity” that is implicit in a child’s world, in his games and his imagination. He documented old traditional Palestinian games that were played by our ancestors and which he also played in his childhood – and are still being played by children nowadays.
He acknowledges that refugee camps are an inspiring environment for his imagination. A small child playing with a piece of clay in front of his house on a cold winter night. He sees the refugee camp mirroring Palestine as a country: zinc rooftops, stones, barrels, swings, overcrowding and congestion. Traversing the neighborhoods of these camps provides Joha with opportunities to create a situation: one of anxiety, which overwhelms him at first and which he later deconstructs and analyzes in detail.
In another work Joha captured the minute details and countless elements of old professions, such as those of a barber and shoemaker, among others. His work often starts with animated discussions he holds with his fellow artists in some coffee shop. The discussions are often about the remains of a memory, or about their duties in pursuit of a certain artistic idea. The scenario that presents itself on the street outside is often recorded in the sketchbook that he always tags along.
Among his latest works is Clothesline, the project he submitted for the 2004 Young Artist Award. His work was represented as a clothesline on which hung several unframed paintings and toys such as dolls and paper airplanes. For the artist, the clothesline is synonymous with a mother (and implicitly Palestine, being the mother of all of us). Clotheslines can be seen on the rooftop of every house, in every village, city, and refugee camp. The artist perceives the clothesline as the source of his identity and nationality. Similarly, just like the toys that are attached to the clothesline, so are the games attached to the refugee camps, its alleys and neighborhoods. The jury that awarded Joha the first prize described his work as “a tour de force of simplicity and directness, power and tenderness. In this piece, comprised of expressionistic drawings, paintings, and objects, Joha transforms the site of his work into a veritable field of play, a kind of garden of innocence and experience. Through this, Joha turns our attention to the question of innocence (both its potentiality and corruption) in a time of crisis. The skilful mass of drawings and paintings are in such profusion, as if the artist were in a race with time itself. Each mark, figure, and portrait becomes not just a gestural display of the interplay of spontaneity and control, but also a conceptual tool that holds and sustains the narrative of the work in a present that refuses to let go of the imaginative freedom of childhood.”
Joha has exhibited his works widely in Palestine and abroad. He participated in exhibitions in Gaza, Ramallah, Birzeit, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, including the art auction that was sponsored by UNDP. Internationally, he had solo exhibitions in Greece and South Africa and joined group exhibitions in Jordan, Egypt, South Africa and Brazil, Paris ,moving exhibition in Italy , moving Exhibition in French ,
And he had artistic residence in (the international city of arts) in Paris. 2005 for 6 months.
Presentation ( Clothes Line) is a tour de force of simplicity and directness, power and tenderness. In this piece, comprised of expressionistic drawings, paintings, and objects, Joha transforms the site of his work into a veritable field of play, a kind of garden of innocence and experience. Through this, Joha turns our attention to the question of innocence (both its potentiality and corruption) in a time of crisis. As such, (Clothes Line) calls on the viewer to meditate on this central problematic within the Palestinian condition. On the one hand, the work evokes ideas about fantasy and utopia and, on the other, exposes the viewer to constant vigilance as to whether this utopia is attainable. The skillful mass of drawings and paintings are in such profusion, as if the artist were in a race with time itself. Each mark, figure, and portrait becomes not just a gestural display of the interplay of spontaneity and control, but also a conceptual tool that holds
and sustains the narrative of the work in a present that refuses to let go of the imaginative freedom of childhood.
Thank you. Suad Al-Amiri
Sharif Waked . 2004