Sliman Mansour's Homeland
BY: Sara Alsayed / Arab America Contributing Writer
Sliman Mansour is a Palestinian painter and artist. He was born in a village in Ramallah and in a time when the zionist had not occupied and stolen the Palestinian lands. He is considered a great and inspiring figure to all Palestinians and is known as an artist of the Intifada. He perfectly captures the pain and sufferings of the Palestinian people and all the struggle they face due to the occupation. However, he also captures the beauty and courage of the men, women, and children who rise for the cause and stand up to injustice.
Sliman had lost his father when he was four years old and had moved to Jerusalem with his mother. There, he enrolled in the Bethlehem Academy of Arts and Crafts but dropped out at the age of nineteen because the Israeli occupiers accused him of setting fire to the library – it was later discovered that the source of the fire was a short circuit. He says that he did not gain experience there and was able to enter the art world with his own effort and perseverance.
Sliman Mansour’s Homeland was created in 2010. It is a painting that shows the daily struggles that Palestinians go through to travel between cities and even villages. Having to go through many checkpoints is a real struggle. There are times when going through checkpoints is very easy, but there are also times when just walking through the checkpoints is difficult. Many people are shoving and pushing, not to mention the Israeli soldiers yelling and even assaulting the Palestinians. In “It’s not a life” – Palestinian workers’ daily struggle with Israeli checkpoints, one Palestinian said: It is really awful. I’ve seen a lot of injuries over the years. Sometimes, the [Israeli] soldiers come on this side to shout [at us],”.
The painting describes the gruesome, difficult and humiliating journey that Palestinians go through every day. In addition, it shows that it does not matter whether you are male or female, young or old, healthy or sick. The abuse and humiliation still exist.
The painting was drawn on a paper of 188 by 233 cm to ensure the visibility of the painting from a far away. The artist used charcoal and acrylic on canvas. Using charcoal enhances the looming darkness that the Palestinians go through in order to live and survive; therefore, using this choice of material was an excellent decision made by the painter.
The painting is truly prevalent and relatable. It is something Palestinians go through every day. They are treated like animals, only for the mere fact that they are Palestinians. The inhumane acts are consistent and unforgiving. So, having painters and artists similar to Sliman Mansour is an honor. People like him shed light on these terrible acts through their art. They will definitely hold for the remainder of time and history and will tell the truth about Palestinians and the occupation and the settlers.
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