Samia Halaby:Drawings of the Kafr Qasem Massacre

February 22, 2017 to May 30, 2017 - 12:30

On February 22, 2017, Birzeit University Museum launched the exhibition Drawings of the Kafr Qasem Massacre by internationally-acclaimed Palestinian artist Samia Halaby. The exhibition was part of the Museum’s exhibition program for the year 2017.

In her exhibition, Halaby presents 16 works of art, in which she used an illustrative style to document a heartbreaking historical event – the Kafr Qasim Massacre of 1956. The artist had based her documentary research for this project on stories told by survivors, accounts they told of the families they had lost in the massacre, and all the press materials she could find.

In this show, Samia Halaby offered a form of work that is different from the usual and she clearly places herself as an activist and advocate for her people’s cause. She viewed this project as a work of documentation rather than a work of art.

In addition to her unique practice of contemporary abstract painting and her research of Palestinian liberation art, Halaby has designed a number of posters and banners used in demonstrations across the US – which she considers as part of her activism, not her art production.

Through her lifetime dedication to art and political activism, Halaby managed to develop her own distinctive artistic and intellectual experience and raise questions on the role and responsibility of art in life.

The show also featured the launch of a book by the same title, which was recently published by Schilt Publishing in Amsterdam (2017). The book is a summary of the research conducted by Halaby to produce this project’s drawings. It includes a collection of survivor testimonies and an attempt to reproduce an archival record of events in painting based on a number of reliable sources and references. The artist will also present three recently completed acrylic paintings from her Illuminated Space series: Mountains Between Birzeit and Ramallah; To Return, Infiltrate; and Mondrian Boogie Woogie. Critic Maymana Farahat shed light on the artist’s three paintings and placed them within the latter’s broader experience in painting and art history.

This is Samia Halaby’s first solo show in Birzeit University, although her relationship with the University and the Museum dates back a long time: in the past, she has participated in group exhibitions as well as a number of educational art workshops for students. She has also donated some of her works to the Museum and has helped collect artwork by other artists, who followed in her footsteps.

In this exhibition, Halaby donates a number of her works, once again, to the Museum’s collection, so that they may forever be present in the consciousness of future generations and be always accessible to audience from all backgrounds – students, teachers and researchers.

Samia Halaby was born in Jerusalem. She is a leading figure of abstract art practice and stands among the most influential Palestinian artists today. Despite being based in the United States since 1951, Halaby is considered a pioneer of abstract art in the Arab world.

The artist was influenced by Russian avant-garde abstract movements. Throughout her career, she conducted her work with the belief that new painting methods can develop new perspectives and ways of thinking, in terms of not only painting aesthetics, but technological and social change as well.   

Since the 1970s, many international institutions sought to obtain Halaby’s works, including The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (NY and Abu Dhabi), The Yale University Art Gallery, The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., The Art Institute of Chicago, The Cleveland Museum of Art, L’Institut du Monde Arabe, and The British Museum.

Samia Halaby is represented in Ayyam Gallery (Beirut/Dubai). 

Place: 
Birzeit University Museum
  • D2154 All the Women of the Ninth Wave, Ninth Wave of Killing, the Kafr Qasem Massacre of 1956 series 2012. Charcoal on paper, 30 x 44 ½ in, 76 x 113 cm

    Killed: - Abdallah Muhammad Sarsour (14 years old), Safa’s younger boy riding the truck with her
                 - Amina Qasem Taha (50 years old)
                 - Bakriyya Mahmoud Taha (14 years old)
                 - Fatma Dahoud Sarsour (30 years old)
                 - Fatma Mustafa Easa (18 years old)...

  • D2155 Implosion, Killing of the Women, Ninth Wave of Killing, the Kafr Qasem Massacre of 1956 series 2012. Charcoal on paper, 30 x 44 ½ in, 76 x 113 cm

    Killed: - Abdallah Muhammad Sarsour (14 years old), Safa’s younger boy riding the truck with her
                 - Amina Qasem Taha (50 years old)
                 - Bakriyya Mahmoud Taha (14 years old)
                 - Fatma Dahoud Sarsour (30 years old)
                 - Fatma Mustafa Easa (18 years old)...

  • D2153 Yousef and Mahmoud Sarsour, Eighth Wave of Killing, the Kafr Qasem Massacre of 1956 series 2012. Color pencil on paper, 22 x 30 in, 56 x 76 cm

    Killed: - Mahmoud Khader Sarsour (27 years old)
                 - Yousef Muhammad Sarsour (52 years old)

    Drawing number D2153
    Mahmoud and his uncle Yousef Sarsour were returning home in a truck loaded with cement blocks. They were unaware of the curfew but knew well the...

  • D2151 Abu Ayyoub and Abu Fareed, the Seventh Wave of Killing, the Kafr Qasem Massacre of 1956 series 2012. Conté crayon on paper, 22 x 30 in, 56 x 75 cm

    Drawing number D2151
    When Israeli soldiers showered bullets on the workers of the Seventh Wave, many fell to the ground desperately seeking shelter. Some tried to hide under the truck itself. Abu Ayyoub managed to squeeze his young body over the spare wheel under the truck. He told of how in due time...

  • D2152 The Yellow Truck of Ata Sarsour, Seventh Wave of killing, the Kafr Qasem massacre of 1956 series 2012. Conté Crayon, 38 x 50 in, 96.5 x 127 cm

    Killed: - Abed Saleem Freij (16 years old)
                 - Abdal-Raheem Muhammad Bdier (25 years old)
                 - Ahmad Muhammad Amer (17 years old)
                 - Ata Yacoub Sarsour (26 years old)
                 - Jamal Saleem Taha (11 years old)
                 - Jum’a Muhammad Sarsour (17 years old...

  • D2149 The Martyrdom of Mahmoud Rayyan, Fifth Wave of Killing, the Kafr Qasem Massacre of 1956 series 2012. Color pencil on paper, 22 x 30 in, 56 x 76 cm

    Killed: Mahmoud Abdal-Ghafer Rayyan (35 years old)
    Escaped: - Mustafa Umar Odeh
                      - Mustafa Abdal-Qader Sarsour known as Abu Thiyab
                      - Jum’a Rasheed Bdier
                      - Saleh Ahmad Sarsour
                      - Mustafa Abdal-Qader Sarsour

    ...
  • D2148 Old Man Abu Mousa, Fourth Wave of Killing, the Kafr Qasem Massacre of 1956 series 2012. Conté crayon on paper, 30 x 44 ½ in, 76 x 113 cm

    Drawing number D2148
    A jeep full of Israeli soldiers was chasing the truck of the Fourth Wave. Suddenly, just after Saleh Amer, who had tried to get onto the moving truck was shot dead, old man Abu Mousa ran into the path of the jeep yelling, “Where are my sons? Where are my sons?” By doing so he had...

  • D2147 The Martyrdom of Saleh Amer, Fourth Wave of Killing, the Kafr Qasem Massacre of 1956 series 2012. Conté crayon on paper, 30 x 44 ½ in, 76 x 113 cm

    Killed: - Saleh Mahmoud Amer (40 years old)
    Escaped:
    The truck driver, Abdallah Easa, and 26 passengers among them:
       - Muhammad Khamees Amer known as Abu Butros, and
       - Mohamed Dahoud Rabi known as Abu Sameeh,

    Drawing number D2147
    The...

  • D2150 Escape of the Youth, Sixth Wave of Killing, the Kafr Qasem Massacre of 1956 series 2012. Conté crayon on paper, 30 x 44 ½ in, 76 x 113 cm

    Drawing number D2146
    Uthman Easa, having heard of the curfew, went out to bring back his 12 year old son, Fathi, who was pasturing a herd of black goats. On the way back, soldiers attacked them. Uthman was driving the large herd from the rear when suddenly the goats reversed direction and stampeded...

  • D2145 Death of The Shepherd Boy Fathi, Third Wave of Killing, the Kafr Qasem Massacre of 1956 series 2012. Pastel on paper, 22 x 30 in, 56 x 76 cm

    Killed: - Fathi Uthman Easa (12 years old)
                 - Uthman Abed Hamad Easa (34 years old), Fathi’s father

    Drawing number D2145
    The 12 year old shepherd boy Fathi Easa was leading his family’s herd of black goats home after pasture while his father, Uthman, was...

  • D2144 The Martyrdom of Ghazi and Abu Samaha, Second Wave of Killing, the Kafr Qasem Massacre of 1956 series 2012. Color pencil on paper, 18 78/ x 26 in, 48 x 66 cm

    Killed: - Muhammad Abdal-Rahman Asi known as Abu Samaha (50 years old)
                 - Ghazi Mahmoud Darweesh Easa (20 years old)
    Wounded: - Isma'eel Mahmoud Bdier
    Escaped:
                     - Mahmoud Rasheed Bdier (14 years old),
                     - Muhammad Abdal-...

  • D2143 The Escape of Abdallah, First Wave of Killing, the Kafr Qasem Massacre of 1956 series 2012. Color pencil on paper, 22 x 30 in, 56 x 76 cm

    Escape: - Abdallah Bdier

    Drawing number D2143
    Abdallah Bdier was shot at when bicycling home after work with his brother and two comrades in the First Wave of killing at the western entrance to the village. He immediately fell to the ground and pretended to be...

  • D2142 Four Quary Workers, first Wave of Killing on the Western Road, The Kafr Qasem Massacre of 1956 series 2012. Color pencil on paper, 22 x 30 in, 56 x 76 cm

    Killed: - Ahmad Muhammad Freij (35 years old)
                 - Ali Uthman Taha (30 years old).
    Wounded:
               - Mahmoud Ahmad Freij
    Escaped:
               - Abdallah Ismeer Bdier,

    Drawing number D2142
    Five minutes...

  • D2141 Killing in the Northern Fields, the Kafr Qasem Massacre of 1956 series 2012. Conté crayon on paper, 30 x 44 ½ in, 76 x 113 cm

    Killed: - Abdallah Ahmad Easa (15 years old)
                 - Abed Muhammad Easa (nine years old)
                 - Ibraheem Abdal-Hadi Easa (35 years old).
    Escaped:
               - Sami Mahmoud Mustafa

    Drawing number D2141
    In the northern fields...

  • Infiltrate, 2016, acrylic on jute, 193 x 2.79 cm

    In the second part of the exhibition, the artist will present three recently completed acrylic paintings of her project Illuminated Space: Between Birzeit and Ramallah, To Return: Infiltrate, and Mondrian Boogie Woogie.  critic Maymana Farahat sheds light on the Artist’s recent paintings & reviews them within broader...

  • 2016, Acrylic on canvas, 190.50X264.2cm


    In the second part of the exhibition, the artist will present three recently completed acrylic paintings of her project Illuminated Space: Between Birzeit and Ramallah, To Return: Infiltrate, and Mondrian Boogie Woogie.  critic Maymana Farahat sheds light on the Artist’s recent paintings & reviews them within...

  • 2015, 153x203 cm, Acrylic on canvas.


    In the second part of the exhibition, the artist will present three recently completed acrylic paintings of her project Illuminated Space: Between Birzeit and Ramallah, To Return: Infiltrate, and Mondrian Boogie Woogie.  critic Maymana Farahat sheds light on the Artist’s recent paintings & reviews them within...