Zawyeh Gallery presents an online virtual exhibition of selected works by artist Nabil Anani, a key founder of the contemporary Palestinian art scene. In the exhibited series of his paintings depicting Palestinian landscapes, the main focus is on nature’s aesthetic, giving the viewers an opportunity to ponder and appreciate the scenery, although his works are not just about nature’s beauty. The show will end on 15 September 2023.
Born in 1943, Anani was a witness of the Nakba that happened in 1948: he saw Palestinians be displaced by Israel and many cities, towns, and villages be destroyed. The artist sought refuge amid the vineyards and hills of Halhul, a town near Hebron. Pastoral scenes and rural life are still central to his art practice.
Inspired by his childhood spent in Halhul, Anani paints his motherland’s landscape where no Israeli presence can be spotted. He turns it into a patchwork of dreams, memories, and cultural and artistic references. Choosing straw, spices, dry flowers, and plants as his media to create rich textures and using bright colours and bold geometric shapes, the artist depicts vivid landscapes in which he expresses collective memory and solidarity with his homeland. On a side note, Anani started to use natural materials in his art making process during the First Intifada (1987-1993). Back then, he was among a group of creatives who boycotted Israeli and foreign art supplies. Instead, they used local materials such as leather, henna, turmeric, tea, and indigo. This way, they emphasised their connection to the Palestinian soil.
In the artworks featured in the exhibition, Anani reflects a utopia that lives in the imagination of all Palestinians who are displaced from their lands, kept in restricted areas, or have no permission to access different parts of their homeland. He offers a vision of a better future, an image of an ideal Palestine which is worth pursuing.
About the artist
Nabil Anani (b. 1943, Latroun, Palestine) resides in Ramallah, Palestine. His art practice inlovles not only painting, but also sculpting and pottery. In 1969, he graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Alexandria, Egypt; in 1989, he received his Master’s degree in Islamic Archeology from the Al-Quds University, Jerusalem. After returning to Palestine, Anani worked as an art teacher at the Al Tireh College and the United Nations Training College, Ramallah.
In 1973, Anani co-founded the League of Palestinian Artists and became its head in 1998. He also played a crucial role in the establishment of the 1st International Academy of Fine Art in Palestine. The artist was awarded the first Palestinian National Prize for Visual Art in 1997 by Yasser Arafat. In 2006, he received the King Abdallah II Arab World Prize for Fine Art.
Anani held his first exhibition in Jerusalem in 1972. Since then, he has his artworks exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions: A State of Mysticism, El Sawy Culture Wheel, Cairo (2009); A State of Mysticism, Khalil Al-Sakakini Cultural Centre, Ramallah (2008); Border Rituals, Peace Centre, Bethlehem (2005); Leather Compositions, Al-Wasiti Art Centre, Jerusalem and Arts and Crafts Village, Gaza City (1998); Acrylic Works Inspired by Palestinian Folklore, Al-Hakawati Theatre, Jerusalem (1985); 7*7 Palestinian Art Exhibition, Cairo Amman Bank Hall, Amman (2009); Palestinian Art Exhibition, UNICEF, Beirut (2005); The Colors of Life and Freedom, Palestinian Art Exhibition, UNESCO, Paris (2004); Palestinian Art Exhibition, Parliament Hall, Madrid (1990); Palestinian Art Exhibition, travelling exhibition in eight States in USA (1977); and many others.
Anani’s works are featured in multiple collections (both private and public), such as The Birzeit University collection, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine; Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Jordan; Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon; Guggenheim, Abu Dhabi, UAE; Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France; The Agha Khan Museum Toronto, Canada; and others.
You can visit the virtual exhibition of Nabil Anani’s works on Zawyeh Gallery’s official website.
You might also be interested in visiting Risham Syed’s “The Seven Seas”.