“From One Cactus Sprouts a Hundred”

For the Whole Family
With the artist Mohamed Abusal in conversation with the writer Tahsin Yaqin

Friday, June 28th | 16:00-19:30
Location: The Palestinian Museum
Language: Arabic

Together let’s explore the cactus, which in Palestinian culture has come to be a symbol of resistance. Every time the Israeli occupation mechanisms work to bulldoze and uproot it; it splits the ground and emerges again.

In this event, we host the Gazan artist Mohamed Abusal in a conversation with the writer Tahsin Yaqin about the symbolism of the cactus, from which he derives patience and perseverance; he then deploys the plant in his artworks as a visual masterpiece that reminds us of the richness of the Palestinian natural landscape. Through the art of painting, we will learn about its characteristics, types, and colours before planting it in the Museum’s gardens.

About the artist Mohamed Abusal

Abusal was born in the Bureij refugee camp in 1976. He has lived and worked in Gaza and works at a prolific rate. Abusal relies on autodidactism and lived experiences in the world of art in addition to taking many specialised courses in several artistic fields, such as printing techniques, painting, murals, photography, and art project installation.

He has held ten solo exhibitions in several Arab and international capitals, including Jerusalem, Amman, Paris, and Dubai. He also participated in many international exhibitions, workshops, and arts festivals in Palestine, the Arab world, and the world. He received an art fellowship at the Camargo Foundation, after being nominated by the MUCEM Museum in Marseille. He also received an artistic residency grant at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. In 2005 he was awarded the Charles Asprey Prize for Contemporary Art

Abusal in his art tends toward abstract painting, installation works, and photography, and his style is characterised by deep research into life issues and scenes. He has presented several multimedia projects, including: “Metro in Gaza,” “SHAMBAR,” “Painfortable,” and “Ugly Products that don’t Serve your Rights. Through the combined use of compositions, performances, and images, they reflect the reality in the besieged Gaza Strip and anticipate a brighter future.

About the writer Tahsin Yaqin

A writer, editor, educator, and critic, Yaqin was born in occupied Jerusalem in 1967. He and his family are villagers residing in the mountains of Jerusalem. He received his school education in the Jerusalem Governorate and was interested in writing, reading, and oral memory. He received religious teachings from the mosque, libraries, and media programmes.

Yaqin was engaged in the student movement against the occupation’s policies of violating educational rights and confiscating lands. He also contributed to establishing many libraries and literary and educational forums. He received his higher education in Egypt and studied the Arabic language and literature; there he participated in many literary festivals and art seasons, visited art houses and museums, and was interested in cinema, theatre and singing. After graduating, he worked as a teacher in Jerusalem schools and as a cultural editor in several newspapers. He moved to educational media and contributed to its establishment.

He then devoted himself to journalism, worked as a founding researcher in the Department of Negotiations Affairs, and contributed to establishing the Curriculum &Teaching Method Department. He is published in many Palestinian and Arab periodicals. He is a social and human rights activist and works as a trainer in creative writing and literature of place. He has received multiple awards for his work in the educational and media fields and published many studies, research papers, and articles.

*Mohamed Abusal, Baby Cactus, 2016. Acrylic on canvas, Each panel: 40 x 60 cm. Courtesy of the Zawyeh Gallery Collection