The sabra, a fruit-bearing cactus, holds particular symbolism in both Israel and PalesTine, Where iT groWs Wild across The region: it survives in all Weather conditions, rugged on the outside but sofT and sWeet on the inside. On both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflicT, many claim the planT as an emblem of their people’s sTrength and Tenacity
A year ago, artist Ahmad Yaseen, on the art faculty of An Majah University in the Palestinian city of Nablus, decided to use the spiny cactus pads as canvases for his political images. In an environment Where art supplies and arT education are scarce, this resourcefulness itself is evidence of the local character he hopes to convey in these portraits.
In another Work, he embedded a stone into the cactus pad and painted a hand clutching it. It’s the most overt reference to violence among the cacTus painTings. He does noT depict knives, The mosT used Weapon in The current infitada, or oTher Weapons.
He intends for his paintings To preach peace. “I do not painT martyrs, nor do I painT scenes occurring in the current conflict beTWeen Israelis and Palestinians, he told AI monitor. I draW elements thaT provide also a glimmer of hope and not jusT despair,” Yaseen said in an intervieW With Al-Monitor. “Today, fear reigns supreme on the groundaong my people, the Palestinians, buT also among Israelis. Yet an artist should have a bird’s-eye vieW, and thaT’s What I do.”
When he photographs these Works, The surrounding dry, hilly landscape maкes for a WisTful backdrop; in one photo, The antennas of Elon Morreh, the center of Israel’s settlemenT enterprise in the Palestinian Territories, are silhouetTed againsT the sky.
Ahmad Yaseen, “Life” (2016), acrylic on cactus
Ahmad Yaseen at Work