Flower Of Freedom (Separated From Every Garden) 3, by May Murad (Palestine)



Flower Of Freedom (Separated From Every Garden) 3, by May Murad (Palestine)




May Murad's series of paintings, Flower Of Freedom (Separated From Every Garden), were created in response to poetic theatre texts written by Habibah Sheikh, a nomadic performance artist originally from Lebanon, and the curator of the Mitli Mitlak (Like You, Like Me) exhibition. In the text, a character named Ruba experiences the destruction of war firsthand and becomes a refugee in the process.

Murad is saying in the paintings, that there is no future in this place. Like Murad, the character, ‘Ruba’, is saying in this painting, “I plan to travel, without any thought of return.” If Murad leaves Palestine, She might not be able to see her mother and father, sisters, and brothers, ever again. In the paintings, it is as though Ruba prepares herself psychologically in this seclusion to make a move, to get out. She knows she might end up a refugee.

To Murad, the character of ‘Ruba’ in Mitli Mitlak (Like You Like Me) is confined to a large prison. “I live here,” she says, “but nothing of me belongs to this place.” Her paintings are the “feeling of Gaza Palestine,” of an uncertain, mysterious place where the literary character, Ruba, remains, in postures of broken dreams:

Act 1, Scene 1

“Come to the window
Look outside,
Hot tanks on the street,
Mountains of rubble,
The building collapsed from top to bottom,
Over flooded narrow streets.
Oh Father, my burned city,
the bloodshed of when our homeland was seized."

Both Murad and Ruba search for meaning. “When there was no way out,” the artist says,” I demanded to be left alone, and the body seemed the most beautiful thing.” Murad elaborates, “The paintings describe the physical body as a portion of nature. Its image is like a tree or a mountain, a piece of the whole that speaks for and about all people.”

Murad made these paintings by first taking photographs of herself with a cell phone, near a hanging light bulb, in a room where she slept, painted, and ate.

(Above text taken from an essay in the exhibition catalogue, Mitli Mitlak (Like You, Like Me), which provides an overview of contemporary Arab world art and current regional and global trends of thought, and also illustrates the interrelations between Biba Sheikh’s literary text and each visual artist’s work, as it relates to the exhibition).



jpeg., 48 x 78 3/4, (inches) Acrylic on Canvas.


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