Year-ending treat for art lovers
December 09 2015 11:36 PM

Mohamed al-Hawajri is primarily a self-taught artist.

Katara Art Centre has put on display the works of renowned Palestinian artist Mohammed al-Hawajri. By Umer Nangiana

Presenting a year-ending treat to art lovers, Katara Art Centre (KAC) in Katara Cultural Complex has put on display the works of renowned Palestinian artist Mohammed al-Hawajri, in co-ordination with Al Markhiya Gallery.  
Born in Al Bureij refugee camp in 1976, Hawajri lives and works in Gaza, and is a founding member of the Group for confluence of contemporary art called Eltiqa group. As an active personality in the art scene, he not only creates works of art but also organises artists’ exhibitions and workshops at the Eltiqa.
Hawajri, who essentially taught himself, is one of the important young artists from Gaza. He was nominated to attend several workshops and residencies in Europe and the Middle East and his works have been displayed in a number of solo and group exhibitions locally and internationally.
An almost constant theme in Hawajri’s paintings that is easily recognisable and distinct is the variety of animals from goats, sheep, cattle and horses, with an almost primitivist style, yet there is nothing simple or primitive about these works as they are very reminiscent of the first depictions and paintings made by the first human settlements.
His work shows as if the artist has liberated himself from all the layers brought by technology and modernity and went back to the very basics of human expression, in which the human has a fascination with the characters and behaviours of the animals that surround him or her.
Perhaps one of the most remarkable elements about Hawajri’s works is that neither his colours nor his motifs nor his subject matters have any relationships whatsoever with the sordid realities of Gaza, says Al Housh House of Arab Art and Design.
His paintings are in fact very reminiscent yet distinct from the works of Wassili Kedinsky or Franz Mark with their vibrant colours, fast brush strokes demarked by black lines. There is no doubt that Al Hawajri will become one of the most important artists to emerge from the Arab world.
In 1997, Hawajri participated in the Palestinian Spring Cultural events in Marseilles and Paris, France, and was awarded the Certificate of Merit from the Arab League in 1998. In 2000, he was short listed for the first Abdel-Mohsin Qattan Foundation Artist of the Year in Ramallah.
From 1999-2001, Hawjari participated in a summer academy at Dar Alfonon, supervised by professor Marwan Qassab Bachi, and won first prize during the course at the academy.
In 1999, he did his first personal exhibition at the French Cultural Center in Gaza entitled, ‘New Faces’. His 2001 exhibition, ‘Curl Black’ addresses Arab crafts and the importance of Arab trade, presenting their aesthetic value through a visual movement.
His work was selected in 2002 in Amman Gallery Zarra, Garnd Hyatt Amman, Jordan depicting spices and food components and animals in different forms.
In 2007 at the French Cultural Center in Gaza, his exhibition titled ‘Spirit and Fragrances,’ was an advance group of paintings dominated by the presence of symbols used in the word Arab. Hawajri tends to focus on things that are often neglected.
His exhibition at KAC will continue till January 16, 2016.

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