Sliman Mansour, West Bank
Suliman Mansour is one of the leading Palestinian artists. Born in the Palestinian village of Beir Zeit in 1947, Mansour is a co-founder of the Wasiti Art Center in Jerusalem (Now director of the Center). He is also a member of the “New Vision” artist group, which focuses on the use of local material in artwork. Mansour is a cartoonist, art instructor, and author of two books on Palestinian folklore. He won the ‘Nile award’ at the 1998 Cairo Biennial for his series of clay panels “I am Ismail”, and the Palestine Prize for the Visual arts in 1998.
His first one artist show opened in Ramalla, Palestine, during the Intifada in 1981 at Gallery79. It only lasted four hours when suddenly the Israeli army closed both the show and the Gallery and later made it illegal to use red, green, white, and black – the colors of the Palestinian flag.
Suleiman Mansour creates “emblems of decay” that are “dry, cracked and distorted,” reminding us of dispersion, waste, pain and death. Ismael, son of Abraham and Hagar, the subject of his masterpiece, is the revered ancestor of the Arab people. Below the figures on a broken slab are roses symbolic of the martyrs killed during the current uprising in defense of their homes.