Dalloul Art Foundation

Dalloul Art Foundation

NABIL ANANI NABIL ANANI

NABIL ANANI, Palestine (1943)

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Bio

Written by Wafa Roz

Nabil Anani is a painter, sculptor, and ceramicist born in 1943 in Latroun, Palestine. During the Nakba of 1948, he fled with his family to Halhul, a city in the southern West Bank, where he completed his early education. He graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1969, and in 1989 earned a master's degree in Islamic Archeology at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem. Upon returning to Palestine, he worked as an art teacher at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) at Al Tireh College and the United Nations Training College in Ramallah. Anani co-founded the League of Palestinian Artists in 1973, becoming its director in 1998. In 1994 he was a founding member of the Al-Wasiti Art Center in Jerusalem. Anani taught at Al-Quds University until retiring in 2003, after which point he dedicated much of his time to the League's activities and, in 2006, helped establish the International Academy of Art in Ramallah.

The artist grew up during a critical period in Palestinian history: born during the British Mandate, a childhood shaped by the Nakba and the subsequent Israeli occupation, Anani’s young adulthood occurred in the wake of the Naksa, and his artistic practice matured during the first and second intifadas. Amidst the disappearance of his homeland, he sought comfort in family gatherings and Halhul's hills, vineyards, and old quarters; he also found spiritual relief in the works of his grandfather, Ali Daoud, a Sufi sheikh who presided over the Zawiyah mosque. In Egypt, Anani experienced the 1967 Naksa, also known as the Six-Day War, which led to Israel's further annexation of Palestinian land as well as the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula. From early on, Anani worked to form a modern Palestinian national identity with visual narratives rich in folkloric as well as political themes.

Inspired by Palestinian history and visual culture, Anani's work explored themes that promoted national identity through the revival of traditional arts and the expression of collective memory. While in Halhul in 1977, he depicted nostalgic scenes from pastoral and village life. Moving into abstraction, he recreated family porch gatherings against a floral background in In Front of Our House (1986), which features allusions to crucial pieces of Palestinian material culture like embroidery and pottery.

The theme of the motherland has been central to Anani's iconography since his early career. Motherhood I (c. 1976) portrays a mother wearing a red embroidered dress and embracing her child, the trellis of green grapevines in the background framing a black halo around her white veil. Explicitly adopting the colors of the Palestinian flag as one of the many elements of resistance, this work is an allegory of Palestine, the mother, the source of nourishment and shelter for her people. Anani reproduced his paintings as posters that served the Palestinian cause while preserving visual history.

During the First Intifada (1987-1993), Anani, along with artists Sliman Mansour, Vera Tamari, and Tayseer Barakat, established the New Vision Movement as an innovative approach to Palestinian artmaking. They boycotted Israeli products and instead used natural materials from their homeland, simultaneously emphasizing their connection to the Palestinian soil and avoiding the purchase of art supplies from Israel. Anani chose leather as support to stretch, cut, and paint on, and used it to make abstract shapes that he mounted on wood and tinted with henna, tea, and turmeric. Though his practice has since re-incorporated manmade materials, it continues to honor the history and heritage of his native Palestine. In 2007, for example, the artist produced a series of watercolor paintings inspired by early Islamic miniatures. Within geometric shapes, he integrated calligraphic Quranic verses, texts, collaged copies of Ottoman documents, and official seals to critically examine the history of the region.

In his recent works, Anani revisits his most celebrated theme of the Palestinian motherland, expressed literally with images of landscapes and allegorically through the figure of the woman. His work  Palestinian Icon (2010) portrays a large woman in an embroidered dress of vibrant green, red, and pink, carries Jerusalem on her arm, grapes in her hand, and villagers throughout her dress. The embroidery, or Tatreez, that embellishes her clothing is of considerable significance to Palestinian cultural heritage. Traditionally, the colors and patterns indicate the maker's village of origin, and the artisanal form as a whole has come to symbolize Palestinian national pride and cultural continuity in the face of adversity. 

Along with his lifelong friend and colleague Suleiman Mansour, Anani was appointed by the Society of Inash Al Usra, an Al Bireh-based civil society organization, to research Palestinian visual heritage in the 1980s. The two visited several villages to study traditional Tatreez, and these traditional patterns and motifs have held particular significance in Anani's work ever since.

Palestinian Icon(2010) is in conversation with other images by Anani that feature the Palestinian landscape, including fertile olive groves, where vivid greens contrast against white limestone fences and square houses as symbols of national identity and resilience. His scattered strokes of red terrains, violet hills, and pink trees have a post-Impressionistic quality that evokes alternating feelings of restlessness and serenity. Breathing new life into his practice, Anani produced the series Life Before 1948 (2014), which reconstructed the past and visualized a hopeful future by appropriating old family photographs. He painted characters whose strikingly colored outfits contrasted their expressionless faces. The artist also turned more explicitly to political work in Qalandia Checkpoint (2014), where he depicted the brutal restrictions placed on Palestinian mobility at one of Israel's most infamous checkpoints.

Anani lives with his wife in Ramallah, where he continues to produce stirring works that call for national liberation through coded iconography.

Sources

Barghūthī Murīd, Sulieman Mleahat, and Martin Mulloy. Nabil Anani: Palestine, Land and People. London: Saqi Books, 2018.

Ankori, Gannit. Palestinian Art. London: Reaktion Books, 2006.

Boullata, Kamal, and John Berger. Palestinian Art: From 1850 to the Present. London: Saqi, 2009.

Mleahat, Suleiman and Martin Mulloy, Nabil Anani, Palestine, Land and People. London: Saqi, 2018.

Makhoul, Bashir and Gordon Hon, The Origins of Palestinian Art, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2013.

Nabil ANANI - Art on 56th. Accessed November 16, 2018.http://www.arton56th.com/artist/44

Anani, Nabil. "Palestinian Affairs Magazine - شؤون الفلسطينية." The Palestine Poster Project Archives. November 27, 2014. Accessed November 16, 2018. https://www.palestineposterproject.org/poster/palestinian-affairs-magazine-شؤون-الفلسطينية-137

Azuara, D. Fonseca. "Woman as Motherland: Intersections of Nationalism and Gender in Palestinian Art." Academia.edu - Share Research. Accessed November 16, 2018.
http://www.academia.edu/35510842/Woman_as_Motherland_Intersections_of_Nationalism_and_Gender_in_Palestinian_Art

"Creative Palestinian Art: Art Sawa, Dubai - UAE." Accessed November 16, 2018. http://www.contemporarypractic...

Irving, Sarah. "Pre-1948 Palestine Brought to Life in Nabil Anani's Paintings." The Electronic Intifada. February 12, 2017. Accessed November 16, 2018. https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/sarah-irving/pre-1948-palestine-brought-life-nabil-ananis-paintings

"Palestinian Costume, the Intifada and the Gendering of ..." Accessed November 16, 2018. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09589236.1996.9960651

"Published." Dalit Literature - Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. Accessed November 16, 2018.https://www.rem.routledge.com/articles/anani-nabil-1943

Rudeb0x. "In Memory - Palestinian Artists Group Exhibition." In Memory - Palestinian Artists Group Exhibition. January 01, 1970. Accessed November 16, 2018.http://inmemoryexhibition.blogspot.com/

"Artwork." Rawabi - Overview. Accessed November 16, 2018.https://www.rawabi.ps/en/artwork

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CV

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2018

Palestine, Land and People,Zawyeh art Gallery, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

2014

Life before 1948,Zawyeh art Gallery, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

2013    

Spirits of the Land, Art on 56th Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon

2012    

Land and People, Open House, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

2007    

A Journey into Script, Foyles Gallery, London, UK

2005    

Border Rituals, Peace Center, Bethlehem, Occupied Palestine

2003    

Khalil Al-Sakakini Cultural Center, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

2001    

People and Chairs, Khalil Al-Sakakini Cultural Center, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

1998   

Inspiration from Palestinian folklore, Hakawati Theater, Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine

1996    

Inspiration from the first Intifada, Khalil Al-Sakakini Cultural Center, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

1985   

Al-Wasiti Art Center, Jerusalem. Moved in the same year to Arts and Crafts Village, Gaza City, Occupied Palestine

1980    

Paintings and Ceramics, Gallery 79, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

1972    

Oil Paintings Collection, Y.W.C.A, Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine

Selected Group Exhibitions

2019    

Challenges of Identity, Dar El Nimr, Beirut, Lebanon
Intimate Terrains: Representations of a Disappearing Landscape, The Palestinian Museum, Birzeit, Occupied Palestine

2018    

Jerusalem: 51 Years of Occupation, Zawyeh Gallery, Ramallah     
Subcontracted Nations,
A. M. Qattan Foundation, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

2017    

Jerusalem Lives, Inaugural exhibition of the Palestinian Museumthe Palestinian Museum Birzeit, Palestine
A Sight of Disjunction, organized by A. M. Qattan Foundation (AMQF), Manjam – Haifa Culture Lab, Haifa, Occupied Palestine

2016

Our Homeland is Our Homeland, Yaser Arafat Museum, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine
Rendezvous, Zawyeh Gallery, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine
Winter Collective, Zawyeh Gallery, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

2015

Narratives, Zawyeh Gallery, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

2014    

In Memory, Zawyeh Gallery, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine
Colors of life, Zawyeh Gallery, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine
The Spring Group Exhibition, Gallery One, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

2011    

Art Palestine: Nabil Anani, Sliman Mansour, Tayseer Barakat,Meem Gallery, Dubai, UAE
Framed - UnframedThe Changing Representation of Women in Palestinian Visual
Arts, Ethnographic & Art Museum, Birzeit University, Occupied Palestine

2005    

Palestinian Art Exhibition, Geneva, Switzerland
Artists from Palestine, Gallery Four Walls, Amman, Jordan
Palestinian Art Exhibition, UNISEF, Beirut, Lebanon.

2004    

The colors of Life and Freedom, Palestinian Artists, UNESCO, Paris.

2003    

Palestinian Art Exhibition, Palestinian Artists, JALA Exhibition Hall, Tokyo, Japan

2002    

Alexandria Biennale, International Exhibition, Alexandria, Egypt

2001   

Palestinian Art Exhibition, Palestinian Artists, JALA Exhibition Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Al-Sharjah Biennale, International Artists, UAE
Palestinian Art Exhibition, The League of Tunisian Artists, Tunisia

2000    

Palestinian Art Exhibition, Bissan Gallery, Qatar          
Journey through the Contemporary Arts of the Arab World, Bilad al Sham, Darat al Funun, Amman, Jordan

1999    

Palestinian Artists, Dramen Museum, Dramen, Norway
The Artists of the Occupied Lands, Jordanian National Museum, Amman, Jordan

1997    

Artistes Palestiniens Contemporains, as a part of The Palestinian Spring, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris and various locations in France

1996    

New Vision Group, with Vera tamari, Suleiman Mansour and Taiseer Barakat,several exhibitions in Italy (Salerno), Jordan (Amman) & AL- Hakawati Theater (Jerusalem)

1995    

Palestinian Subordination Day, United Nation headquarters, New York, USA.
It’s Possible, Palestinian & Israeli Artists, National Museum, Washington, USA

1992    

Seven Palestinian artists: Suleiman Mansour, Tayseer Barakat, Nabil Anani, Khalil Rabah, Jawad al Mahli, Yacoub al Kurd, and Vera Tamari, Darat al Funun, Amman, Jordan

1990    

Palestinian Art Exhibition, Red Crescent, Montréal, Canada.
Palestinian Art Exhibition, Parliament hall, Madrid, Spain

1989    

Palestinian Art Festival, Moscow, Russia
New Vision Group, with Vera tamari, Suleiman Mansour and Taiseer Barakat,several exhibitions in Italy (Salerno), Jordan (Amman) & AL- Hakawati Theater (Jerusalem)

1986    

Palestinian Art Festival, Moscow, Russia

1985    

12 Local Exhibitions, Local Palestinian Artists, through the League of Palestinian Artists, Moved between several Palestinian Cities, Occupied Palestine

1977    

12 Local Exhibitions, Local Palestinian Artists, through the League of Palestinian Artists, Moved between several Palestinian Cities, Occupied Palestine
Palestinian Art Exhibition(moved between 8 States), USA

1976    

Palestinian Art Exhibition, Tetra Shell Castle Ship, London, UK

Awards

2018    

A. M. Qattan Foundation (AMQF) honored the New Vision Collective, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

2006    

King Abdullah of Jordan Award in Fine Arts for the Middle East       

1997   

The first Palestinian National Prize for Visual Art

Commissioned Works on Building Memorials in Palestine

2013   

Sculptures of a Palestinian family, Rawabi city, North of Ramallah, Palestine

2002    

Statue of Liberty, Ramallah, Palestine.

1993    

Metal memorial statue, Kaukab Abu al-Hija park, Galilee

1987    

Mural, Faculty of Educational Sciences and the College of Women's Society, Ramallah, Palestine

1986   

Statue of aluminum, in collaboration with Suleiman Mansour, Ina’sh Ak Usra Family Association building, Ramallah, Palestine

Collections

The Birzeit University collection, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine
Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Jordan
Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon
Dar El Nimr, Beirut, Lebanon
Guggenheim, New York, USA

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NABIL ANANI Artwork

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