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Learning & Creative Engagement

Voices from Palestine

We have been watching the recent events in Gaza, outraged and with deep sadness.

As a team, we have also been discovering more work from some extraordinary Palestinian artists, both past and present, as a way of understanding the rich creative culture that is under attack.

We want to use our platform to celebrate and share some of them with you.

We will share one post a week across our social media channels, and update this page on our website every week with the artists we spotlight.

Mahmoud Darwish (1941 - 2008)

Considered by many to be Palestine’s National Poet, the work we’ve selected is I Have a Seat in the Abandoned Theater.

Read ‘I Have a Seat in the Abandoned Theater’

English translation by Fady Joudah

Mohammed Alhaj

From abstract portraits to expressive pieces and Pop Art, Mohammed Alhaj is a visual artist who has continued to make work in Gaza while the strip has been under attack.

The two paintings we’ve selected are Displacement and bird.

View more of Mohammed’s work

West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

Founded by Daniel Barenboim and Edward W. Said, the orchestra aims to promote equality, harmony and understanding between musicians, against the backdrop of conflict.

Listen to Beethoven – Symphony No. 9

Free Gaza Circus Center

Born in 2018 from the vision of young circus acrobats and activists in Gaza, this group aims to spread circus culture through lessons and workshops, weaving joy, hope and happiness, and creating a safe space for young people to thrive.

Find out more about Free Gaza Circus Center

Images from Free Gaza Circus Center Facebook page.

Taha Muhammad Ali (1931-2011)

Poet and short-story writer, Taha Muhammad Ali’s writing intricately weaves together the personal and political.

We have selected the poem, Revenge.

Read ‘Revenge’

Revenge by Taha Muhammad Ali is from the Collection, Hymns & Qualms: New and Selected Poems and Translations, by Peter Cole.

Amer Hlehel

Actor, playwright and director, Amer Hlehel is a co-founder of several independent initiatives in Palestine, including The Freedom Theatre. Amer wrote the one-person play, Taha based on the life of Taha Muhammad Ali which played at the Young Vic in 2017 as part of Shubbak Festival.

The play was published in Hebrew in 2023 as part of The Maktoob مكتوب series by The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. The series spotlights contemporary Arabic literature and is the only project in Israel today that translates works of Arabic culture and literature into Hebrew.

The project is the initiative of translators and scholars of Arabic headed by the late author Salman Natur and Prof. Yehouda Shenhav-Shahrabani.

Find out more about Amer Hlehel

Find out more about The Maktoob مكتوب series

Taha by Amer Hlehel (2023) is published by The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and Dar Layla publishing and translation.

Nidaa Badwan

Artist Nidaa Badwan crafted a photographic series, ‘100 Days of Solitude’ within the confines of her 100-square-foot room in Gaza. From 2013 over 20 months, she transformed her space into a sanctuary and studio, creating drawings, textiles and vibrant self-portraits. Despite her isolation, Badwan found community through social media, sharing her quietly defiant images with the world. 

The two photographs we have selected are ‘100 Days of Solitude; Code 4’ and ‘100 Days of Solitude; Code 21’.

Find out more about 100 Days of Solitude

N.S. Nuseibeh

British-Palestinian writer and researcher N.S. Nuseibeh’s collection of essays, Namesake: Reflections on A Warrior Woman blend history, personal essay and cultural criticism in a search to understand her ancestor and namesake, the legendary Nusayba Bint Ka’ab al Khazrajiah, the warrior woman of 7th century Arabia. Nuseibeh wrote the essays to explore what it means to be a young secular Muslim woman today.

Find out more about Namesake: Reflections on A Warrior Woman

NTS Radio series ‘God's Waiting Room w/ David Holmes - Humanity as an Act of Resistance’

Over two episodes, DJ David Holmes presents a mix of cinematic, rock ‘n’ roll, experimental and independent music, alongside speeches, poems and essays reflecting on the history of Palestine and Gaza and the impact of conflict in the region – including John Berger, long-time collaborator and friend of Complicité, reading Ghassan Kanafani’s ‘Letter from Gaza’.

Find out more and listen to the episodes



Maisara Baroud

Palestinian artist and lecturer Maisara Baroud delves into the concept he labels the black-and-white dichotomy in his artistic endeavors. Through this framework, he sheds light on global human suffering with a specific focus on Palestine. Maisara’s artistic portfolio explores humanitarian concerns; encompassing subjects like warfare, migration, political imprisonment, unlawful detentions and the realities of occupation.

The two artworks we have selected are ‘Tight Space No.37,’ (2019) and ‘I’m still alive,’ (2024)

View more of Maisara’s work

Isabella Hammad

British-Palestinian author Isabella Hammad’s novel,  Enter Ghost recounts an actor’s return to Palestine and their involvement in a local production of Hamlet. The story portrays contemporary Palestine, delving into themes of diaspora, displacement and the unbreakable bonds of family and collective resistance.

Find out more about Isabella Hammed



Mosab Abu Toha

Palestinian poet, short story writer and essayist, Mosab Abu Toha is the founder of the Edward Said Library and is a former visiting poet and librarian-in-residence at Harvard University. His work amplifies Palestinian voices and fosters cross-cultural understanding and empathy. 

His debut book of poetry, Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear won the Palestine Book Award and an American Book Award.

Read ‘What is Home?’ from this collection

Sheikha Helawy

Palestinian writer Sheikha Helawy short story collection, They Fell Like Stars from the Sky & Other Stories, translated by Nancy Roberts, depicts the complexities of life on the margins. From the poignant heartbreak of jealousy to the love for football that fills the heart of an elderly woman, each narrative celebrates the resilience, tragedies, and triumphs of Bedouin Palestinian women and girls.

Find out more about the short story collection.

MounaksPrints

Mouna is a half-Palestinian, half-Indian artist based in London. She created the Etsy shop, ‘MounaksPrints: Art for Liberation: Posters and Prints for Palestine’ to share her artwork, much of which is inspired by her love of Palestine and her Palestinian heritage. 100% of all profits are donated to charities such as MAP (Medical Aid for Palestinians) and UNWRA (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees).

She says: “I created this shop to help raise funds for humanitarian organisations working on the ground in Palestine. Whilst this initiative was born out of feelings of hopelessness and despair, this shop has since become an outlet for me to express my love for Palestine, and a way for me to connect with others who are inspired by and devoted to this cause.”

The print we have chosen is ‘Majorana Syriaca, Palestinian Thyme (Za‘atar)’.

MounaksPrints Etsy Shop

@mks_prints Instagram 

 

Dalia Taha

Fireworks (Al ab Nariya) by Dalia Taha, translated into English by Clem Naylor, follows two families living in an abandoned building in a Palestinian town. Despite efforts to shield them, the children, Lubna and Khalil, are deeply impacted by the surrounding violence. Taha shows that in times of crisis, both children and adults struggle to maintain a sense of normalcy. 

The play premiered at the Royal Court Theatre, London on February 12 2015 as part of the International Playwrights: A Genesis Foundation Project.

Find out more about the play

Larissa Sansour

From sculpture to film and installation art and photography, Larissa Sansour’s interdisciplinary work merges current political dialogue with elements from film and pop culture. Through these different mediums, she crafts intricate narratives that challenge  international commentary on Palestine and the Middle East. 

The video work we have selected is, As If No Misfortune Had Occurred in the Night (2022). Palestinian soprano, Nour Darwish performs a new aria composed by Anthony Sahyoun, blending Gustav Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder and the Palestinian traditional song, Mashaal in an opera filmed in a derelict chapel.

Find out more about Larissa and watch ‘As If No Misfortune Had Occurred in the Night’

ASHTAR Theatre

This Palestinian theatre promotes creativity and change through training, performance and outreach to marginalised communities. This year, Mandala Theatre Company is hosting an international youth theatre festival in Oxford and are raising funds to bring ASHTAR to the festival in the UK.

Find out more about ASHTAR Theatre

Find out more about Mandala’s crowdfunding campaign

Images from ASHTAR Theatre website.

Riham Isaac

Riham is a Palestinian multi-disciplinary artist who explores themes of gender, politics, and resistance, challenging perceptions and prompting meaningful dialogue. They’re driven by how to perform land in times of crisis, exploring its intersection with performance to deepen understanding of land injustices. 

The project we have selected is ‘A Stone on Road – A Happening’.

Find out more Riham Isaac’s work here.

Image from Riham Isaac’s website.

Jumana Manna

Jumana Manna is a Palestinian visual artist and filmmaker who explores how power is articulated through the body, land and materiality, focusing on colonial inheritances and histories of place. Raised in Jerusalem and now based in Berlin, she delves into the paradoxes of preservation practices in architecture, agriculture and law, highlighting the tension between modernist traditions and the unruliness of ruination and regeneration.

The work we have selected is Sketch and Bread.  

Find out more here.

Ismail Khalidi

Ismail Khalidi is a Palestinian/Lebanese American writer, director and actor whose work explores the history of Palestine, the modern Middle East, race, colonialism, displacement and war. 

We have selected the play Returning to Haifa, adapted from the novella by Ghassan Kanafani.

Find out more about Ismail here.



May Elias Ziadeh

May Elias Ziadeh (1886-1941) was a Lebanese-Palestinian poet, essayist, and translator who wrote in both Arabic and French.

Find out more about May Elias Ziadeh here.

Malak Mattar

Malak is a painter, illustrator and author from the Gaza Strip. From a family of talented cultural practitioners, Malak started making art as a teenager during a period of open conflict, and she soon began to sell work online and exhibit internationally. 

We have selected the painting, ‘When the World Sleeps’ (2020).

Find out more about Malak:

Visit her website

Visit her Etsy store