Looking at Adam Shehada’s art, one might mistakenly consider it black-and-white photography, taken with a precise camera. But in reality, these are hand-drawn images, created by the self-taught hyperrealist pencil artist from Gaza.
“It’s such a very humbling and touching experience to hear all the supportive comments from fellow artists, friends, and art teachers, and to see their reactions when they admire my work,” Adam says.
Adam’s family realized that something was special about their child when, from the age of five, Adam preferred to copy the illustrations of the children’s books he had been given, rather than read the books. He has tried his hand at a variety of art styles over the years, engaging in caricature, anime and manga art, photorealism, and finally hyperrealism.
The 26-year-old artist says that every scribble and sketch he has drawn throughout his life has helped take his skills to where they are now, and he considers practice and patience to be key attitudes in refining an artist’s skills. Adam explains that he works with pencils because he formed a strong “love bond” with this medium when he was a child. Even though he is able to produce astonishingly realistic works, he believes that he has not yet discovered his full potential with this simple tool.
An observer of Adam’s artistic voyage would notice that, about three-and-a-half years ago, Adam began to add a special message, “his people’s message,” to every one of his highly detailed pencil drawings. When he decided to create his first hyperrealism collection, he admits that he was not only thinking about his own people’s suffering but also about all the similar sufferings in the world; all situations in which people are deprived of dignity, justice, equality, and many other human values.
“I consider engaging in art to be my duty as a human being who lives every day under unbearable hardship and endures severe power- and water-rationing, a poor economic situation, and assaults and wars. Since birth I have suffered from all sorts of traumatization, and I have always been certain that one day these factors would be reflected in my art,” Adam asserts. He continues, “Art is more than a fun activity or a way to distract, art is also a tool by which you can make a massive difference all around the globe.”
Due to his outstanding talent, Adam has become well known among artists and art lovers in Palestine and overseas. The UK-based hyperrealist artists Kelvin Okafor and Samantha Messias provide the most important inspiration; they have formed cherished friendships with Adam and are among his 27,000 followers on social media. Adam himself has been listed as one of the most talented artists by Faber-Castell, a major pencil producer.
With the help of a dear friend in London and due to the publicity that his artwork has been gaining recently, Adam has been invited to exhibit his first debut collection titled Inextinguishable Suns in Britain’s prestigious House of Parliament, London’s Open Ealing Gallery, and other locations. But unfortunately, he has not been able to find a sponsor for his trip to accompany his works, and thus cannot realize one of his most important dreams: to see with his own eyes the world beyond Gaza.
Adam posts his hyperrealistic artworks on Instagram under @adamshartwork and on Facebook at Adam Sh Drawings.