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> Yousef Katalo, painter
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Yousef Katalo, painter
submitted by This Week In Palestine

By Nassar Ibrahim

He takes you by surprise and awakens within you a deep sense of anticipation and suspense. His works display an astonishing mixture of simplicity and clarity, and his soul is likened to an expansive field of greenery full of insight and receptiveness. His capacity to engage you in self-reflection and dialog with others is unmatched. Yes, the others, whether they are people or natural objects teeming with life. He is not a Bohemian, but an artist immersed in himself and the selves of others. He has a propensity for movement and he throbs with life, and hence he is more of a travelling artist embarking on an endless exploration enterprise. He is constantly experimenting in his art like one sitting on the edge of a shaking rock.

The paintings of Yousef Katalo portray the lustre of exquisite beauty that is found in simple and ordinary things. They show the artist’s extraordinary aptitude for putting symbols in their right place, remodelling and restructuring them to seem like a declaration of the rituals of a new birth.

Katalo is the son of the noble idea, exploring nature in the beauty of man but not man in the beauty of nature. Thus we see in the paintings that the lines and colours of both man and nature intertwine and intermingle almost invisibly, as if this process has been taking place since the beginning of life on earth. In this manner, Katalo condenses distances between cosmic items and elements. He is haunted with the spirit of solitariness, and he looks around and becomes horrified with the horrendous culture of individual, collective, and natural destruction. He protests and yells in his own unique style.

I stand before Katalo’s paintings; I cannot stop staring, and in my mind tell the story of creation anew: murals abounding with lights and crisscrossing colours. I start to look for my place and my special corner in Katalo’s world. The features of the characters are not definite, but what matters is that the roles and locations are clear and compatible. In Katalo’s oeuvres the value of the individual human person takes its significance from the space of the general scene on tableau, and his absence indicates imperfection. Consequently he is spurred to search for the lost beauty.

Katalo is in constant search for the lost beauty of Palestine and its people, land, and symbols. Palestine is alive in his memory and it is always present and ready for resistance. Katalo sublimates us to the level of the dreams and suffering of Palestine and its joy and soft sorrow. He awakens in us the sense of belonging, and Palestine becomes our own cause - the human cause, the human person.

Yousef Katalo was born in the little town of Dura in the Hebron District, Palestine, on 10 October 1965. In addition to being the internal relations officer at the Palestinian Artists Association, Katalo holds the post of deputy director at Ibda’ Institute for Culture and Arts in Dura. He is also the treasurer of Al-Anqa’ Cultural Association in Hebron and a member of its board of trustees and administrative board. Katalo is the technical supervisor of the association and is in charge of “Tashkeel Ala Tool” (Formations for All Times) workshops. Currently, he works in photography, design, and graphics. Katalo has held personal exhibits inside and outside Palestine and has participated in a number of local and international exhibits.

This Week in Palestine
April 2008

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