Liberation Art of Palestine

Samia Halaby is a Palestinian artist deeply involved in abstract art. Born in Jerusalem in 1936, she and her family moved to the US in 1951. While her art is non-figurative and in the tradition of Jackson Pollock’s style of painting, she’s celebrated for having created “a visual language of abstraction rooted in radical social movements.” In 2003 she published the book, Liberation Art of Palestine, a look at some 50 Palestinian artists working today. The interviews Halaby conducted for the book reveal a Palestinian admiration for Pablo Picasso and Diego Rivera… both for their aesthetics and politics. Being an abstract painter Halaby feels distance from the Palestinian school, which in large part embraces realism in art. “I embrace it (abstract art), because of its political roots, because of its roots in rejecting capitalism. But, you know, abstraction doesn’t reject Renaissance thinking. It just adds to it. … to me, as an artist, the painting I do is political because of the artistic choice I made. I’ve consciously made the choice to be, let’s say, a descendent of these radical movements in the 20th century (Cubism, Constructivism, Abstract Expressionism). That’s the area of investigation. I’m not interested in Surrealism, which investigates states of mind and dreams and nightmares. To me, that is the garbage heap of history.” Read a full interview with Samia Halaby in The Daily Star of Lebanon.

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