Flower of Freedom (Separated From Every Garden) 1, by May Murad (Palestine)



Flower of Freedom (Separated From Every Garden) 1, 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 first hand and becomes a refugee in the process.

Murad is clear, “Most important to my people are the borders coming off.” Likewise, Ruba, as represented by Murad, urgently needs to be free. She longs to shed the manufactured boundaries of well-guarded concrete crowned with razor wire, along with the ‘norms’ of modern existence that wrap chainlink around her life’s trajectory. “Ruba is close to me and represents Arab women in a universal way. Ruba is within all people. She wants to go out, to be free, to talk, to just make any move that could change her life. When I initially began, I wanted to paint the state of all people wanting freedom.” Within Ruba, ‘borders are coming off’ where phantasms, night visions, and apparitions are manifesting in the space around her. Ruba is experiencing the faraway world as she simultaneously feels like a stranger to herself. Her remoteness makes it seem that she has no friend, as she embodies visions from her third eye:

Act 1, Scene 1

Ruba: (Twirling with high voices) Maaa Maaa! Maaa Maaa! Maaa! Maaa! (She becomes a mermaid at sea. She is laying on a rock, calling and calling to the ships with a siren-like voice). (Ruba sits up and writes passionately in her diary. The writing is moving her arm...it is writing alone.) (Ruba normalizes rapidly. She is moving happily through the space).

Murad made the paintings in Flower Of Freedom (Separated From Every Garden), by first taking photographs of herself with a cell phone near a hanging light bulb, in a room where she slept, painted, and ate. One year later, Murad fled Palestine, became a refugee, and is now exiled in Paris, France.

(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.



Original Format




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