Mohammed Al Hawajri

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Guernica - Gaza

 

Introduction

Museums are a true mirror of people and their civilization. They tell the history of nations and are a testimony of civilisations, enriched by their creative and intellectual achievements. They are windows towards the past that make it possible to explain the present and read the future. Countries have always been interested in building museums to preserve the cultural heritage and richness of their nation and to maintain their cultural identity through generations. The importance of museums is not limited to their cultural aspect only; they are symbols and monuments of the countries and nations they represent.

Guernica-Gaza

Guernica-Gaza is a project consisting of several paintings by famous international artists such as Picasso, Dali, Van Gogh, Chagall and others. They all left us an important cultural heritage over the last two centuries. Through their paintings, we can discover how they lived, as well as their society and history. It is in that sense that I would like to introduce my project, in which I present these famous paintings in a contemporary way. I respect and keep their style while adding my own contemporary touch. The reality has changed: daily life, the social, political and economic environments are not the same. This directly and indirectly impacts our creativity, which is what I show in my paintings.

Reasons and aims of the project entitledGuernica-Gaza

  • Most peoples in the world go through difficult periods. Palestinians have been facing a particularly painful past and present. I have therefore been interested in expressing my feelings through paintings after the war in 2008/2009. I have been expressing my ideas with irony and black humour, which was obvious in my paintings in late 2010 and early 2011, when I compared the life of Palestinians in Gaza to that of a cactus. The comic image expresses our fears and worries, the complicated and harsh life of the people of Gaza. In my latest project entitled Guernica-Gaza, I express the reality of the world and of the Palestinians, the life under Israeli occupation, racial segregation, violence, destruction, murder and assassination.
  • Merging cultures, past and present in a contemporary way using modern technology changed the world into a small village. By using Photoshop I integrated modern photographs into old and famous paintings to express the reality of Arabs in general and of Palestinians in particular.
  • Guernica-Gaza also responds to a personal ambition and dream of mine. I have found a free space, a few moments to contemplate famous international paintings that are in relation with modern societies, and to discover cultures of the world that have had a significant impact on our present.

Why did I choose that title?

I have chosen this title because of the similarities between the war in Gaza in 2008/2009 and the German aggression against Spain in 1937, during which the village of Guernica was destroyed. Guernica is one of the most famous works of Picasso that has had a great impact on people who saw the painting in Europe and elsewhere. It is a witness of war and destruction and of the suffering of this village and its inhabitants. Guernica is a great example of the importance of art in the documentation of reality and historical facts. Even more, it shows that art can influence the attitude of human beings. Through art, people discover history, link it to their present and reject violence and aggression.

 

MOHAMMED AL HAWAJRI

2010- 2013

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Conclusion

God created mankind to make it a source of life on earth. Human beings have sowed and harvested, discovered and invented. They have developed tools to cope with changes and the challenges of life.

 

Conflicts, fights and wars have existed from the very beginning of Creation. One of the reasons behind this is that we do not accept each other's differences in religion, race, colour or appearance, which is what I want to reflect through my art.

 

This exhibition intents to rewrite the history of art in a contemporary context that shows the evolution of thought and tools, which through technical development have become much easier and powerful, including in their expression.

 

I decided to present some of the most famous paintings by great international artists who left us an enormous artistic and historical legacy by portraying scenes of violence in humanity.

 

I have chosen Picasso's Guernica as one of the most influential paintings that has had a great impact on people, including those who know the origin and the history of the painting.

 

Through my paintings, I want to express that humanity is the source of its own troubles and pains that originate in its greed to increase material fortune, its desire to improve social status, its belief in appearance and its abuse of political positions and power.

 

Violence is part of humanity. The first crime was committed by a human being: Adam's son Cain killed his brother Abel. We have inherited this practice, in which we excel today, individually and collectively, often in its most destructive way by the use of weapons.

 

Violence is not limited to a place, a religion or a race, but is inside the hearts of human beings, whoever and wherever they are. This is what I want to show in my exhibition Guernica-Gaza.

Mohammed Al Hawajri

2012