Artist Talk: The artist Rafat Asad in conversation with the poet Jad Izzat Al-Ghazzawi

Tuesday, June 25th | 11:00-12:30
Location: The Palestinian Museum and via Zoom
Language: Arabic

Join us in a conversation with the artist Rafat Asad about his exhibition Residential Block, part of the Palestinian Museum’s artistic demonstration for Gaza. He will discuss his experience and artistic outputs inspired by the successive wars on the Gaza Strip. During this exhibition, Asad attempts to answer the question of the feasibility of action as a continuous endeavour and what this looks like, a question that war brings to the surface. He does so at a time when our actions as Faraway People have been restricted to closely observing death, counting its victims, and listening to the cries of the bereaved on a cold and dark night.

The artist also addresses the issue of temporary architecture and reconstruction and questions how the occupation transforms cement from a material that builds and protects to one that kills. He also reviews the forms of Gaza’s isolation from the world through paintings and poetic texts born from the womb of the tragedy.

About the artist Rafat Asad

Asad is a Palestinian artist born in Nablus in 1974. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Al Najah University in 1998 with a focus on painting and photography. While primarily a painter and photographer, Asad has also produced light and sound installations in addition to video art and performances. Taking abstract painting as his point of departure, his work has evolved to focus on the Palestinian landscape through a minimalist style with personal touches on the range between realism and abstraction.

Asad participated in group exhibitions including the 11th Havana Biennale, Cuba (2012); Colors of Life, Zawyeh Gallery (2014); The First Alexandria Symposium for Mediterranean Arts, Alexandria, Egypt (2015) and many other important group exhibitions in Palestine, Europe, Japan, the U.S and the Arab World. His works have been shown at solo exhibitions including Narrative, at the A. M. Qattan Foundation, Ramallah (2006); Maps at the Delfina Studios Trust, London (2006) as part of a residency programme; an exhibition at the Slade School of Art, London (2012); and Cite des Arts, Paris (2015). Additionally, he was part of the Shatna workshop in Jordan (2007); and the summer arts workshop in Styria, Austria (2009).

Asad is also the co-founder and artistic director of Al-Mahatta Gallery, chair of the board of directors of the Balata Cultural Forum and a member of the Palestinian Artists’ League.

He currently lives and works in Ramallah.

About the poet Jad Izzat Al-Ghazzawi

Al-Ghazzawi is a poet and researcher in the visual arts who was born in the city of Tulkarm. He is from a refugee family originally from the village of Qaqun occupied and ethnically cleansed in the 1948 Nakba; since then, village lands have had a kibbutz built atop them and its ruins declared a national park.

Al-Ghazzawi holds a BA in law from Al-Quds University and a master’s degree in public administration from Birzeit University. He is a candidate for a master’s degree in arts from Dar al-Kalima University.

He has published three collections of poetry published by the General Union of Palestinian Writers (2012), Kul Shee in Haifa, Palestine (2017), and Almutawassit in Italy (2022), which has been translated into Italian.

Al-Ghazzawi worked in many Palestinian state institutions, including the Secretariat-General of the Council of Ministers (2003-2010), the Official Gazette Bureau (2010-2014), and the Palestinian Ministry of Culture (2014-present), where since 2018 he has held the position of Undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture. He is a member of several Arab and Islamic organisations specialising in cultural affairs, including the position of Vice-Chairman of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), and a member of the Consultative Council for Cultural Development in the Islamic World (ICESCO). He also holds the position of Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Library of Palestine.

Talk link:

*Rafat Asad, Unnatural Landscape #1, 2012. Acrylic on canvas, 50 x 60 cm.