Basel El Maqousi is a painter, artist, and professional photographer who was born in Gaza in 1971. Engaged in the arts from an early age and having completed an art course at the Gaza City YMCA in 1995, he has continued to nourish his imagination through several artist residencies all over the world. He has immersed himself in the atmosphere and natural beauty of each country visited, absorbing the various ways of seeing and understanding the world. These experiences have broadened his consciousness and led him to appreciate the magic of these places, which he expresses through his paintings, sculptures, photography and video art.
From 2000 to 2003, Basel participated in the yearly artist residencies at Darat al Funun – The Khalid Shoman Foundation in Amman (Jordan) under the supervision of the internationally renowned German-Syrian artist Marwan Kassab Bachi. In 2003, he was awarded the Charles Asprey Award for Palestinian artists, and the A.M. Qattan Foundation shortlisted him for its Artist of the Year Award and granted him a one-month artist residency in Bangalore, India. In 2013, Basel received a grant from UNESCO and Algeria’s Cocoon Foundation for a one-month artist residency in Algiers, and he also participated with a group of artists in a residency and workshop in Bergen, Norway. In 2016, he obtained an artist residency in the US state of Connecticut.
Basel has participated in many local, Arab, and international exhibitions. In 2008, he was granted the Bronze Award for Best Picture from the Union of Arab Photographers in Europe – Germany, and in 2009, he won the Oscar at the Nile TV Cultural Biennale but was unable to attend other events due to the closure imposed on Gaza.
One of the founders of Gaza’s Windows from Gaza Gallery for Contemporary Art, Basel also works as an art teacher at the Jabalia Association for Rehabilitation, which cares for children who are hearing-impaired, and is engaged in a project that depicts slogans and love letters written by teenagers on walls in the camp’s alleys and on the walls of schools.
Basel’s interest in and compassion for the oppressed has always led him to focus his work on the issues and hardships from which he, his people, and peoples around the world suffer. Since 2011, his thinking and interest has been preoccupied by revolutions carried out worldwide and over time: not only the Arab revolutions but also other historical revolutions and movements that have called for change, such as the French revolution, Communist revolutions, women’s rights movements, the Black Lives Matter movement, and revolts by coalmine workers.