The Public Outreach Program aims to promote Palestinian contemporary culture and life through creative encounters that target primarily the younger generation of artists and performers. It is a platform to showcase young talent in music, art, literature and cinema, as well as presenting a rich program of talks and performances about the city and its history, interpolated by an assortment of culinary activities involving local chefs and non-professional members of the community. Artists, writers, historians, musicians and performers are invited to give public performances including talks, discussions, readings, shows and film screenings with the aim to bring together community members and creative individuals in a shared space for experimentation, entertainment and free expression.

Liberating from the Umbrellas

Nabil Abu Ghneima

"If you lose your way, space will bring you back to earth. Or if you seek a star for guidance to your near future, ask a first grader with white ribbons in her hair or search for the map in her textbooks and drawing books.  If you rummage theories other than Ibn Khaldoun’s or a well-knitted plan other than Napoleon’s, or a guaranteed way to heal the wounds of the bleeding land, or a way to awaken your grandfather’ giant horse, ask your childhood with chalk and crayons on the walls of the houses or on the rusty iron doors.  If you don’t understand what they tell you, ask your grandmother who rests in peace in her grave with her dewy face and affectionate smile or follow the threads of your grandfather’s kiffyyeh on top of his kneeling head.

If you aim to find the way, throw your sneaky umbrellas away and say (good bye) carelessly and let your heads welcome drops of rain that will plant olive trees and  windflowers again, and leave all that is Mischievous and harmful that was forcefully imposed on its flawless nature.

This exhibition expresses my personal vision and idea of change in order to overcome the hardships that hits our society through reforming ourselves and starting to change it referring to our flawless nature. The idea of this exhibition was inspired when I bought an umbrella for the first time last year, which was the first year in my fourth decade. That time, I felt that I have lost my childhood and my freedom that used to turn me into a bird flying under the rain without any umbrellas.

I started developing this concept more and more until the umbrella became a symbol for many moldings and frames that claim protection, but from what!??while it is merely restrains to our freedom and brains that are never harmed by receiving the rain drops.The umbrellas in this art project take many shapes such as parties clichés that put people into groups, the ideas and theories imposed on simplicity, the artificiality, and many other things that represent umbrellas that we need to liberate ourselves from while keeping the morals drawn from our pure human nature and instinct.

During my work on these paintings, I tried to bring back my childhood that is mixed with the smell of rain that soaks our dusty unpaved street, where neither the rain nor the mud prevented us from playing and running freely. By doing that I was liberating myself while working on these paintings with shapes, lines and colours, considering that relationships and interactions between these elements are what create the idea of the artwork, in addition to working freely with the artwork and playing around with drawing the umbrellas, and manipulating the work elements and components so that each painting creates its own aesthetics, structure, visual values, and concept freely and spontaneously." - Nabil Abu Ghneima

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Nabil Abu Ghneima was born in 1984 in Gaza and received his BA in Art Education from Al Aqsa University in Gaza.