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Sliman Mansour: Limited Edition

Open daily, except Fridays, until November 12, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

By Rana Anani
Zawyeh Gallery, Ramallah
Open daily, except Fridays, until November 12, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Accessible online via https://artspaces.kunstmatrix.com/node/12055797

Zawyeh Gallery is hosting Sliman Mansour: Limited Edition at its premises in Ramallah and online. It showcases 21 iconic artworks carefully curated from his extensive work since the 1970s. The complete collection will also be available online, allowing a broader audience to view and potentially acquire pieces that capture the essence of Mansour’s work.

The selected artworks focus on themes central to Mansour’s art, including Jerusalem, Palestinian women, and the landscape, which can be found abundantly in his works in the form of olive trees, harvest scenes, orange picking, and Palestinian villages. The exhibition also includes artworks produced in the past few years that explore the present through the lens of the past, highlighting the Palestinian cause amidst the transformations of modern life and emphasizing the paradoxes between the two time periods. It includes hand-signed limited-edition prints that are exhibited for the first time.

Among the featured artworks is Mansour’s well-known Camel of Hardship (1973), produced early in his artistic career. Another lesser-known twin painting titled The Daughter of Jerusalem (1978) is also on show. It depicts a young woman in traditional Palestinian dress carrying the same burden as the old man in Camel of Hardship but with a strong, uplifted posture. Despite the similarity in concept and time of production, this painting did not garner the same attention.

Throughout the exhibition, Palestinian women appear in various contexts, all intrinsically tied to the land. At times, they embrace Jerusalem, while in other instances, they carry the city on their heads, or the city appears in the background. These women exude a striking presence, with a sense of unwavering dignity and abundant emotion.

The connection to the land is portrayed through several rural scenes where women take center stage. For example, one painting shows a woman holding a straw basket full of pomegranates; another features two women carrying oranges from the orchards. In another artwork, a woman embraces a tree that has shed its leaves in a real or perhaps metaphorical winter.

All the women in Mansour’s paintings wear embroidered Palestinian dresses, each with different designs and colors. The details show the time, research, and effort invested by the artist in celebrating the diversity in traditional dress and embroidery.
The Palestinian cause is never absent from Mansour’s works; it is always a foundational theme, even if not explicitly displayed. Sometimes, it is metaphorically presented through barren land, deserts, and the expressive eyes of his characters.

Born in 1947 in the town of Birzeit, Palestine, Mansour is a pioneer artist and one of the founders of the Palestinian art movement. Throughout the years, his paintings have profoundly reflected the Palestinian heritage and struggle.

Ziad Anani, Zawyeh Gallery’s founder and director, emphasizes that this exhibition provides the opportunity to see a selection of Mansour’s masterpieces in one place, which is unique, given the artist’s limited production and artistic presence during recent years. While Mansour’s works have found homes in museums and private collections worldwide, his last solo exhibition was held in 2011 at the Palestinian Art Court (Al Hoash) in Jerusalem.

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