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Notable Palestinians

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> Julia Dabdoub, Aliyya Nusseibeh, Nuzha Darwish,...
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Kamel Al-Mughani: Resistance Artist
submitted by This Week In Palestine

Symbols from Palestinian heritage, the land, and resistance are the themes depicted in the works of the late Palestinian artist Kamel Al-Mughani, who has produced 600 paintings. Al-Mughani is a Palestinian artist who has made visual art a weapon to resist Zionist invasion and occupation of the land of Palestine.

Al-Mughani was born on 27 December 1943, in Al-Shujaia neighbourhood in the city of Gaza. Since childhood, he has shown a talent for art. After finishing high school, he went to Egypt where he studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Alexandria. In 1966 he taught art in various schools in Gaza, and following the June 1967 War he taught at the UNRWA schools in Ramallah. During the same year, he joined the Palestinian revolution, was arrested by the Israeli military forces, and put in jail from 1969 to 1972. His works are replete with memories and recollections of his prison experience.
In 1985, Al-Mughani founded the Fine Arts School at An-Najah University in Nablus, where he also lectured. In addition, he is regarded as one of the pillars of modern fine arts in Palestine. He was also a founding member of the Palestinian Artists Association, established in 1974, as well as a founding member of the Artists Association in Gaza, founded in 1984.

In his earlier works, Al-Mughani uses symbols such as the cannon, the rifle, handcuffs, and the Palestinian map, thus reflecting Palestinian public wrath at the Israeli occupation. During the 1980s, the land, Palestinian folklore, Canaanite myths, and popular yarns became the source of inspiration for Al-Mughani. He uses various symbols from Palestinian folklore such as straw dishes, coffee pots, domes, horses, doves, and pottery jars; and the traditional female dress is a constant icon that Al-Mughani uses to highlight the Palestinian character.

In his late works, Al-Mughani uses symbols such as the violinist playing the tune of victory, which indicates the eventual liberation of the Palestinian people from occupation. He also draws the boat to reflect the return of Palestinians to their homeland after long years of homelessness. In addition, Jerusalem and its mosque represent perpetual beauty and the Arab character of the holy city.

The works of Al-Mughani include a memorial, completed in 1996, which stands now at the entrance to An-Najah University. He also designed a memorial for the Palestinian wing in the EXPO exhibition that took place in Lisbon in 1998.

Al-Mughani has received a number of awards, including the Soviet Artists Union Award, 1979; the Dundee Municipality Medal, Scotland, 1981; the Second Golden Sail Award, Kuwait, 1989; the First Fine Arts Award at the Third Jerash Festival, Amman, Jordan; and the Award for the Best Logo for the First Palestinian Social Conference, Jerusalem, 1986.

Courtesy of Dr. Ahmad Mousa

This Week in Palestine
February 2009

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