Artist of the Month

Dina Matar – Artist Statement

I celebrate life through my art. I desire to convey hope and optimism, which reflects my belief that life is worth investing every effort to be the best we can be.
As an artist who lives and works in the city of Gaza − a city known for its grief, pain, wars, siege, and instability − I am determined to present my work as a message that comes from this small geographic region but reaches far beyond its boundaries. Through my artwork, I wish to represent my people and communicate their message: we strive to live in safety and peace.

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The nature that surrounds me and the reality in which I live are my inspiration. I offer images that others can enjoy and hope to create works that challenge the prevailing view about life in Gaza. Elements of nature form the basis of the decorative designs that permeate and enliven my paintings. The flowers, plants, trees, birds, etc. that typically appear in Islamic art turn into simple, abstract forms. These elements have become part of Palestinian embroidery and are drawn with silk threads; abstract geometric symbols narrate the various Palestinian tales represented by each dress. For every dress, there is a narrative, revealed by delicate, harmonious threads.

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Tiny details make up the wonderful and perfect landscapes created by the hands of creative Palestinian women. The Palestinian woman is my role model and forms the foundation of most of my artworks; she is the muse that provides me with the power to create. Every time I start a new art project, I feel her strong presence. I identify with her both as a woman and an artist because I am an integral part of this society. I belong to every part of it.
I relish discovering the many aspects that can be developed through my artwork. In each painting, I discover my love for and kinship with the woman who connects me to new places and different times and invites me into a space that I love and that I would like to share with others.

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Women constitute half the society, but they embrace the whole society. A woman is mother, wife, sister, friend, and companion in the struggle. I salute her since she is also the martyr, the prisoner, and the fighter.
My new project, entitled Long Live Women, is dedicated to all women. I focus on the role and the struggle of the Palestinian woman who never leaves the battlefield and who is always present to support her partner in every arena. A woman who has proved herself in this life and who continues to courageously confront every challenge.
This is my life, and this is what I portray through my paintings, hoping to have a positive impact on the hearts of the viewers.

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Dina Matar was born in 1985 in Gaza, where she lives and works. She graduated in 2007 from Al-Aqsa University with a BA in art education. In 2012, she was selected for an artist residency in Paris at the Cité internationale des arts. Her work has been exhibited in several exhibitions in Palestine as well as in Britain, Ireland, France, Switzerland, the United States, Argentina, Jordan, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Qatar. Dina works as an art teacher in public schools in the Gaza Strip. She is a founding member of Eltiqa Group for Contemporary Art in the Gaza Strip.