Abed Abdi’s Art: Monuments
After studying in Dresden, Abdi became the first Palestinian to build monumental art on native soil. His allegorical monuments in Galilee, honoring human fortitude and resistance, include a narrative mural depicting Elijah¡s defiance and survival and a bronze monument dedicated to six Palestinians who were shot on Land Day.
Land Day Monument
In the course of the years following the Land Day events, Abed Abdi and Israeli artist Gershon Knispel were commissioned to build a monument commemorating the Sakhneen Land Day, with support from the Sakhneen mayor at the time, Jamal Tarabeih. On the 30th of March 1977, exactly one year after the demonstrations, the artists presented a model of the monument to the Arab Municipalities Committee and to the wide public. The monument was constructed at the end of March 1978, and the construction itself took several hours with the joint effort of a large number of construction workers from Sakhneen. Tamir Shorek, notes that Jamal Tarabeih, mayor of Sakhneen at the time, was arrested by the police in the course of the construction and accused of granting an illegal construction permit, but he was released within several hours.
The monument was built in the shape of a sarcophagus, a rectangular marble sepulcher, on which motifs of faces and ornaments were inscribed and which characterize classical Greek and Roman funerary art.
A recent exhibition commemorates the erection of that monument, curated by Tal Ben Zvi, who wrote that “this monument, which is identified as one of the turning points in the Palestinian presence in the public arena inside Israel, became a particularly significant and influential factor in everything pertaining to the formation of the national collective memory in general, and the visual memory in particular, of the Palestinian minority in Israel.”
Abed Abdi’s Art: Other Monuments
Abed Abdi has erected a number of other memorial monuments and murals:
- In 1984—the memorial to commemorate 75 years for the existence of the Galilean municipality of Shefa Amr
- in 1999 the memorial monument in Kafr Kanna
- and in 2001 the memorial monument in Kafr Manda.
- Kamal Boullata, Encyclopedia of the Palestinians (ed. Philip Mattar) published 2000 and 2005 by Facts On File, at p.88
- see Shorek Tamir, 2002
- Tal Ben Zvi, The Story of a Monument: Land Day Sakhneen 1976-2006 Abed Abdi and Gershon Knispel
- Amir Abdi,The Wondering Museum in the Works of Abed Abdi, in: “Abed Abdi: 50 Years of Creativity”, published in 2010, at p. 191. (see images on Abed Abdi’s official site)
- Tal Ben Zvi, Abed Abdi: Wa Ma Nasina (We Have Not Forgotten) in: Abed Abdi: 50 Years of Creativity, published in 2010, at p. 199.
- The Sakhnin monument stood at the center of the exhibition named The Story of a Monument: Land Day in Sakhnin (curator, Tal Ben-Zvi).
- For further reading on the exhibition see, Gish, Amit, “You Will Build and We Shall Destroy: Art as a Rescue Excavation”, Sedek 2, 2008, pp.117-119.
- The exhibition’s catalogue: Tal Ben-Zvi, Shadi Halilieh, Jafar Farah (eds.), 2008, Land Day: The History, Struggle and Monument, Mossawa Center, Haifa [Arabic].