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Palestinian Art – Resilience and Light

Laila Shawa 2011. "Inside Paradise" Mixed media & photography on Canvas

Laila Shawa 2011. “Inside Paradise” Mixed media & photography on Canvas

Palestinian art, predictably, is a history of censorship and obstruction, of exiled artists and extreme conditions, of what Ilan Pappe, quoted in the exhibition catalogue has called ‘memoricide’: to claim legitimacy, the coloniser typically erases or appropriates the signs of the indigenous population.

Contemporary art and culture from Palestine and her diaspora speaks of far more than just oppression, while at the same time, informing a more detailed perspective on living in apartheid, ‘narrative as lives lived in the space between hope and despair.’

Until May 18th Arts Canteen have an exhibition at Studio 3 Gallery, at the University of Kent titled Resilience and Light. Including work by world-renowned Laila Shawa (born 1940, Gaza), the art in this exhibition has been brought to Canterbury from Gaza, London, Venice, Paris, and Dubai.

Works range from film to canvas and are by Taysir Batniji, Hazem Harb, Mohammed Joha, Laila Shawa and Hani Zurob.

The title Resilience and Light refers to two qualities shared by this otherwise remarkably diverse body of work: firstly, the resilience required by artists to create art in conditions of conflict, suffering and exile; secondly, the desire to illuminate through art lived experiences so that they speak to universal human concerns such as fear and despair, but also freedom and hope.