Al Akhbar | Leila Khaled in Lipstick: Changing Representations of Palestinian Women
Birzeit University is hosting a unique exhibition of works by Palestinian artists dating from the 1970s through to the present. Framed-Unframed is a critical exploration of visual artists’ changing representations of Palestinian women.
Acre - Leila Khaled hijacked an American airplane on 29 August 1969. After the operation, the photograph of the famous revolutionary taken by Eddie Adams turned Khaled into an icon. Khaled, a young brunette carrying a Kalashnikov with a kuffiyeh around her neck, became a symbol of an era. Images of Khaled and other icons of the seventies are reproduced at Framed-Unramed, an exhibition at the Ethnographic and Art Museum, in partnership with the Institute of Women’s Studies at Birzeit University.
The exhibition portrays various representations of women in Palestinian art through the work of Palestinian artists from different schools and generations whose art spans from the 1970s to the present day. The artists include: Suleiman Mansour, Mona Hatoum, Nabil Anani, Kamel al-Moghanni, Burhan Karkutli, Naji al-Ali, Ahlam Shibli, Mary Tuma, Amer Shomali, Raeda Saadeh, Laila Shawa, Samira Badran, Layan Shawabka, Vera Tamari, Rula Halawani, Inass Yassine, Ayman Issa and Hani Zurob.
Yassine, co-director of the exhibition (along with Vera Tamari), told al-Akhbar that they chose not to select artworks directly addressing feminist issues. “The focus was on the various forms of representation of women in the past thirty years,” she explained.
The exhibition is divided into four sections. The first section, “In the Frame of Heroism”, includes artwork from the seventies. This period set the stage for representations of Palestinian women as icons of struggle and revolution. Palestinian women were portrayed as symbols of land, devotion, and the nation. This is displayed in Suleiman Mansour’s artworks Palestine and The Awakening of the Village (1978), Naji al-Ali’s portrait Fatima (1970), in addition to untitled pieces by Burhan Karkutli and Kamel al-Moghanni from the mid-1970s. It also includes Two Girls from Bethlehem (2011), a modern artwork by Nabil Anani, which preserves some of the symbolism of the seventies.
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