Feature: Palestinian artist turns his feelings on controversial issues into artworks

2021-11-26 13:35:50 GMT2021-11-26 21:35:50(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

by Sanaa Kamal

GAZA, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Mohammed Abu Hashish, a Palestinian artist from Rafah city in the south of the Gaza Strip, spends many hours a day at his small workshop to create artistic models that represent his feelings about the reality in his community.

The 33-year-old father of three told Xinhua that he tries to translate his feelings about the most controversial issues in the community into works of art in a bid to spread awareness among people.

"The things affecting me most were murders that have been on the rise in the past several years. I was always wondering what triggered those crimes," the young man said.

In 2019, Israa al-Gharib, a young woman from the Palestinian city of Bethlehem in the West Bank, was beaten and then killed by three family members, including her own son.

That crime sparked a wave of anger among the Palestinians, especially women. Demonstrations took place in multiple locations across the West Bank, and people urged the authorities to protect women.

However, not much has been done and that prompted Abu Hashish to come up with some scientific studies related to crimes and the causes of their occurrence, based on human psychology and sociology.

"I finally realized that the issue of family disintegration is one of the most dangerous phenomena threatening the basic core of our society," he said, adding that there are many societal and psychological elements that push perpetrators to commit their crimes.

The young man produced a group of carved and composite artworks made of cardboard, cork and other materials, which he formed in locks. He displayed them in a local exhibition held in the Gaza City in October.

To convey his message, he called his exhibition "Nuclear," referring to a family that poses as the core of the society.

The artworks raised questions about the concept of the lock as an icon that means closure and tightness, and how the concept of the lock began to change and deviate from its use as a tool to preserve privacy and precious property to a means of assault on rights, restricting freedoms and besieging thought and actions.

Among the works displayed is a model of two locks overlapping each other. One of them featured a headline from a newspaper that read that "a woman was killed by her husband." The other one had a title that said that "a young man kills his father."

"Locks in their term are always closed as a strong block that has symbolic in our lives," said Abu Hashish.

In 2013, the artist won the prize of the first Gaza Festival of Fine Art in the field of sculpture. He also organized a personal exhibition entitled "Dignities" in 2016 and many other sculptural works.

According to a report issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, since the beginning of 2020, Palestine has recorded 45 cases of murder against women, a remarkable increase compared to 24 cases recorded last year.

"We should adopt the conviction that we are not just numbers; we are people who live in this universe and need to live in safety," he said. Enditem