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Abed Abdi’s Art: 52 Years of Creation

 

Abed Abdi’s Art: Illustrations

In the years Abdi spent in Germany (1964–1971) he created a corpus of illustrations, lithographs and etchings mainly dedicated to either the Nakba or the Palestinian refugees. A group of the refugee works which Abdi created in Germany between 1968 and 1971, and which were published in 1973 as a set of twelve black and white prints entitled Abed Abdi – Paintings, offer a glimpse of central motifs that would later recur in many of his works. [1]

Curator Tal Ben Zvi commented that “in these and other works, clearly evident is the mark left by his childhood experiences when he moved between refugee camps, and from the period following his family’s reunification in Haifa. To depict the refugees, Abdi adopted a Social Realism approach of the kind to which he was exposed prior to his departure for Germany, and which he refined while he was there”.[2]

In 1972 Abed Abdi returned to Haifa, and worked as graphic designer for a number Arabic publications that appeared in Israel, like Al Ittihad and Al Jadid. He  created illustrations and applied graphic art, posters and book covers.

A recent exhibition, titled Wa Ma Nasina (We Have Not Forgotten) contains a selection from his illustrations. Curator Tal Ben Zvi wrote that “This exhibition is a personal journey in time, memory and history of Palestinians, which constitutes an integral part of the life of artist Abed Abdi, who was born in Haifa.”[3]

The exhibition contains paintings and lithographies, created starting at the end of the 1960s, and published in Al Ittihad newspaper, and in Al Jadid literary magazine.

Additionally, some of the illustrations in the exhibition have served as covers of books, and as illustrations inside books. Among the books in which these illustrations were published are:

 

His friend and colleague, Palestinian poet Samih Al Qasim stated that “Since he started out, Abdi’s brush has attracted my attention. He offered a unique approach. When I asked him for a print for the cover of my second collection of poems, Poems of the Roads, in 1964, he assented with loving enthusiasm. He recognized the harmony in our work: an array that is immersed in the national and human pain of the Palestinian people, and a poem inundated with that pain. His illustration constituted a sharp, deep and beautiful expression of the burning lyrical character of the poems of the time.”[4]

Abed Abdi’s Art: Caricatures

During his years at Al-Ittihad newspaper in Haifa between the years 1972 to 1981,  Abdi created and published many caricatures, many of which touch upon politics and the Palestinian Israeli conflict.

Some of these are exhibited here.

 

 

Notes

  1. Tal Ben Zvi, Abed Abdi: Wa Ma Nasina (We Have Not Forgotten) in: Abed Abdi: 50 Years of Creativity, published in 2010, at p. 216.
  2. Tal Ben Zvi, Abed Abdi: Wa Ma Nasina (We Have Not Forgotten) in: Abed Abdi: 50 Years of Creativity, published in 2010, at p. 216.
  3. Tal Ben Zvi, cited on site of exhibition
  4.  Samih Al Qasem, Abed Abdi – An Artist – Phenomenon in: Abed Abdi, 50 Years of Creativity, 2010, at p.

 

 

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