Palestinian artist, Amer Shomali, moves smoothly between various artistic practices and forms.
Shomali’s academic background in architecture and animation coupled with a feverish interest in increasing knowledge of the Palestinian visual heritage which is compounded by his critical spirit, black humor and expressive boldness enables him to motion through different media and methods.
His loyalty is only to his ideas, which can manifest themselves in many different forms such as posters, animation, drawing, painting, cartoons, sculptures, or even films. As a result, he can be considered a visual artist, filmmaker, animator, graphic designer, painter and cartoonist all at once.
Despite coalescing all practices in his art, when working on a respective project Shomali always approaches it with the passion of a creator, the patience of an artisan and, most importantly, with the heart of a dreamer who aspires to procure a greater life for art. A life which transcends the walls of the gallery and its audiences.
A distinguishing element which differentiates Shomali from other Palestinian artists, is the elaborate care he places while searching for the connection once found between both artistic expression and the people within the Palestinian context.
Striving to ensure a way to reach people, Shomali attempts to contribute to the revival of the collective consciousness. The aim of this is not to reproduce the past, rather history and heritage while being critical of the present; doing so with an emphasis on the aesthetics of the artwork and its ability to be contemporary.
Another remarkable element in Shomali’s works is that they are embedded with meanings related to collective work and the participation of others in the production of such pieces as is evident in “Pixilated Intifada”, and “The Icon.” Such incorporation is emblematic of the artist’s ability to infect them with his passion, leading them to believe in the power of art as a tool to promote change. Consequently, his co-collaborators participate enthusiastically in the process of production, bringing back the memory of Palestinian experience from decades ago when such values of collective participation, and volunteering were at their peak.
It is within the participation of the artist’s friends and colleagues – and sometimes mere passersby– which demonstrate a certain nostalgia for particular moments in the history of Palestinian resistance. Yet, entailed within this very contribution is a criticism of the present, transcending the notion of pure nostalgia and a simple longing for the past. Rather it moves towards an engaging participation in the re-shaping of the present and future. As a result, such collective involvement reaches out to artisans as well as others who collaborate with the artist establishing an audience for the artwork at an early stage. It is a special audience – one which has built a relationship with the work and become in a way part of its history.

by Mahmoud Abu Hashhash

Amer Shomali is a Palestinian multidisciplinary artist, using painting, films, digital media, installations and comics as tools to explore and interact with the sociopolitical scene in Palestine. Much of Shomali’s work examines the creation and the use of the Palestinian revolution’s iconography. His art works are part of several collections: The British Museum, the Museum of Manufactured Response to Absence (MoMRtA), Birzeit University Museum, Al-Qattan Foundation; as well as the private collections of Dr. Ramzi Dalloul, Ms. Rana Sadik, Mr. Hashim Shawa, Mr. Rami Nimer, and Mr. George Al Ama.Shomali co-directed an award winning animated documentary, The Wanted 18, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014. The film was awarded the best documentary award in Abu Dhabi, Carthage, Traverse City, and Al-Jazeera Film Festivals. The Wanted 18 was in the official submission lists for the foreign language and documentary categories of the Oscars 88th. Born in Kuwait in 1981, Shomali holds a BSc in Architecture from Birzeit University in Palestine, and a Master’s degree in Animation from Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom. He is currently based in Ramallah, Palestine.

 

Selected Exhibitions and Film festivals:

Art Dubai, 2016.
Al Jazeera Film Festival, Qatar, 2015. Best Documentary
Traverse City Film Festival, USA, 2015. Best Documentary
Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Estonian, 2014. Official Selection
Carthage Film Festival, Tunis, 2014. Best Documentary
Montreal International Documentary Festival, Canada, 2014. Official Selection
Abu Dhabi Film Festival, UAE, 2014. Best Documentary from the Arab World
TIFF, Toronto Intirnational Film Festival, Toronto, 2014. Official Selection
Manam, Qalandiya International, Arab Culture Association, Haifa, 2014.
(MoMRtA), Qalandiya International, Al Sakakini Center, Ramallah, 2014.
MEASAF Middle East Alternate Sounds & Arts Festival, Athens, 2014.
How Green Was My Valley, whitebox Art Center, NY, April 2014.
The Modern Arts Museum of Algiers, The Museum of Manufactured Response to Absence (MoMRtA), Algeria/Kuwait, 2013.
400 years of Palestinian art, Bank of Palestine Museum, Bethlehem, Palestine, April 2013.
Qalandiya International, Gestures in Time, Al Mamal foundation, Jerusalem, Palestine, Nov 2012.
Framed/Unframed, Al Najah University, Nablus, Palestine, Sep 2012.
Beyond the Last Sky, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney, Australia, 2012.
International Comic Salon, Erlangen, Germany, June 2012.
Loop, The Palestinian Art Court, Jerusalem, Palestine, March 2012.
Framed/Unframed, Birzeit University, Birzeit, Palestine, Sep 2011.
/si:n/ Festival of Video Art & Performance, Gaza, Palestine, 2011.
MEASAF Middle East Alternate Sounds & Arts Festival, Athens, 2010.
Carthage Film Festival, Tunisia, 2010.
Beirut Animated 2009, Lebanon, 2009.
FIBDA Festival International de bande dessinée, Algeria, Oct 2009.
MASARAT, les halles, Bruxelles, Belgium, Aug 2008.
No Man’s Land, Gemek, Amsterdam, Netherland, Sept 2008.
Lighting Lamps, The Guardian foundation, London, United Kingdom, July 2008.
MASARAT, Wallonie Bruxelles A Paris, France, March 2008.
Xray, Streets’ Billboard, Ramallah, Palestine, April 2007.
MASARAT, MAISON FOLIE, Mons, Belgium, Dec 2007.
The Second International Biennial of Posters in the Islamic World, Iran, 2007.

 

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