When I began this Watan mini project a few weeks ago, I didn’t realize how favorably it would be received. I began this project of drawing prints of Palestinian figures with the purpose of featuring cultural and historical figures who remain relatively anonymous to younger diaspora generations today. This meant departing from the main [male] figures, like Mahmoud Darwish, Edward Said, and others; this isn’t to say that I don’t intend on drawing some of these figures, but rather at a later date. To this point, the overarching goal of Watan has been to explore Palestinian culture and synthesize readily available content–whether through corporeal pieces of art or even social media content.
These portraits are just the beginning of what I hope to create. And I hope these only begin to inspire other Palestinians to dig deeper into our turath (i.e. folklore, heritage, etc.) and move away from a kind of distilled (and very Westernized) Palestinian cultural identity.
“Emile Habibi Print”, 8/30/15, digital painting: The background of this print features the repeated phrase “remained in Haifa”. Under his express wishes, Habibi, the author of the classic The Secret Life of Saeed the Pessoptimist, had this inscribed on his tombstone.
“Ghassan Kanafani Print”, 8/24/15, digital painting: The background of this print features a drawing taken from an edition of his famed novella, “Men in the Sun”.
“Hind Al-Husseini Print”, 8/21/15, digital painting: The background of this print pays wistful homage to Al-Husseini’s lasting legacy. Al-Husseini was the founder of Dar Al-Tifl Al-Arabi, an orphanage that began with 55 children orphaned after the Deir Yassin massacre in 1948 (it’s important to note, however, that she was a privileged woman of means–she came from the reputable Al-Husseini family).
“May Ziade Print”: 8/30/15, digital painting: The background of this print is a stylized drawing of jasmine flowers. I first came across Ziade while reading about Khalil Gibran (they were lifelong lovers but never actually met) and fell in love with her writing in the bits that I could come across.