Personality of the Month

Taisir Masrieh

Taisir-Masrieh

I am writing this short piece against his will. Taisir didn’t want to be featured as Personality of the Month, but to me, not only is he personality and artist of the month, he’s also artist of the year, dare I say, artist of the three decades that we’ve worked together.

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During his professional career that started in the 1980s, Taisir Nicola Masrieh Hazboun has no doubt raised the bar regarding the concept of design in Palestine. Born and raised in Bethlehem, Taisir has always been drawn to art in all its nuances – from music to dance, from art to literature and languages. His early experimentation with various forms of art made him a spontaneous, self-made, and talented artist, taking him all the way to Italy to attend the prestigious Academy of Fine Arts in Florence and Cappiello Academy, where he obtained a degree in theater design and another in graphic design.

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Upon returning to Palestine, Taisir was very active in cultural and artistic events, and left his clear mark on the scene, whether by establishing popular dance troupes or initiating and directing festivals such as Birzeit Nights Festival, The International Bethlehem Festival, the Sebastiya Festival, and the Mediterranean Festival in Gaza. In fact, Taisir is credited with establishing the culture of international festivals in Palestine. It is worth mentioning that most of the main posters of the Palestine International Festival have been designed by Taisir Masrieh.

Taisir joined Turbo Design in 1987 as art director and has been in that position ever since. During the first Intifada, when the Israeli authorities refused to grant his wife Alessandra a permit to stay, the entire family moved to Italy. Alessandra wholeheartedly supported her husband till she passed away five years ago.

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There are many things that are worth mentioning in his nearly half a century of activity, but one thing stands out above everything: his willingness to learn from and adapt to the cultures of two different countries – Italy and Palestine, and to share his art with both. Taisir can be defined as a man of two worlds, not just geographically speaking but also because of his ability to understand the changes of his time and to move from the manual era to the digital era of design. He is a true pioneer in the field, bringing the canvas and the brush to the monitor, and being able to recreate himself and guide others, adapting his art to new technologies and new technologies to his art. Taisir’s work is an outstanding example of the intersection of innovation and tradition, art and communication – in one word, Design.

To engage in design involves versatile artistic ability – planning, envisioning, designing, and creating. The idea of design that most people have is often limited to one or two aspects of the whole. The real meaning and nature of design are found in its capacity to transform a simple project, a simple drawing, into an act of communication and, even more, into an act of inspiration. This is what my father has taught me through his own example. He has unquestionably raised the level and standard of design, not just for me, but for a whole generation in Palestine.
Tamer Hasbun

Taisir has not only been the company’s artistic director, he has also been a pillar and certainly the one who created its image. He has been the main artistic figure at This Week in Palestine since its inception in December 1998. His clarity and his dedication to the power of art have made it impossible for him to compromise his work for the sake of commercial purposes. In a nutshell, to work with Taisir is to work with a master.

Taisir has one daughter, Sabreen, two sons, Shady and Tamer, and two grandchildren, Alexander and Leonardo. All his children have acquired the artistic traits of their father.

Sani Meo is co-owner and general manager of Turbo Design (1985), publisher of This Week in Palestine and Filistin Ashabab magazines. He's an incorrigible optimist, a staunch advocate for Palestinian justice, and a firm believer in the private sector. Socially and politically, Meo is liberal and secular. He lives in Jerusalem, married to Maha Khoury and father of Dina and Maya.