We are delighted to introduce to our greetings card range, the artwork of prolifically influential and renowned Palestinian artist, Sliman Mansour. Born in 1947 and raised in the verdant hills of Birzeit, one of the few remaining Palestinian Christian towns, located in the central West Bank, and later living in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, Sliman’s beautifully expressive and emotive artwork embodies steadfastness, reflecting the hopes and realities of a culture in the face of relentless military occupation.
Since the early 1970s, Sliman has translated his experiences of isolation, displacement, community and rootedness using imagery, symbols and natural materials in his work. What began as a boycott of Israeli art supplies during the first Intifada (1987-1993) soon became a rich and meaningful expression of Palestinian culture. Local natural materials such as coffee, henna, hay and mud all became tools of choice for Sliman. Using actual Palestinian land to create artwork allowed him to capture the essence of Palestinian rootedness juxtaposed with fragmentation in the political and geographical landscape – echoed in the cracks growing in the mud as it dries.
As Sliman reflects, ‘I was molded by the Palestinian landscape. The land plays an important role in my art and in my nature as a human being. I said to myself ‘rather than drawing the land, I will draw with land.’ People would ‘inhale’ my artwork at exhibitions – they would feel the Palestinian heritage, by touch, by scent, with the senses.’
Passionate about the work of Embrace, Sliman has generously gifted his artwork to us for use on these beautiful cards so that every penny raised can go directly to the work of our partners to transform lives in the Middle East, providing education, healthcare and community development where it is most needed. These three original works give a glimpse into very different eras of Sliman’s life and creativity – looking at the progression between the pieces, we can trace, with Sliman, the changing landscape of Palestine.
Sliman wistfully shared with us, ‘Every artist believes that the great painting that they will paint is yet to come.’ We wait in eagerness and hope for more incredible artwork from Sliman and for that great painting that shows a shift in the Palestinian landscape once again.