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The Land and I
July 11 2024

The Institute for Palestine Studies released recently the new book “The Land and I” by artist Nabil Anani. The book presents a selection of the artworks of the artist that explores the natural landscape in Palestine from the beginning of the 1970s until t today, encompassing over 183 works. The book serves as a chromatic record of the Palestinian landscape and a key source of inspiration for Anani during his artistic career spanning five decades. During this journey, the natural landscape in Palestine has undergone radical changes within the context of ongoing Zionist colonial attempts to dominate the Palestinian land. Therefore, Anani’s book is a visual documentation of the Palestinian natural landscape over the years, countering the continuous attempts to obliterate and alter the Palestinian topography. 

The book is introduced by Abdul-Rahim al-Shaikh, the renowned poet and professor of philosophy and cultural studies at Birzeit University through a study titled “He Sees What He Wants” that contemplates Anani’s artistic odyssey of capturing the essence of the Palestinian landscape. The essay encompasses seven distinctive topics that interrogate the intellectual, poetic, theoretical, political, social, cultural, and artistic dimensions of Anani’s artworks. Through his insightful analysis, al-Shaikh proposes that the book serve as “an exercise in looking at the Palestinian body that became a landscape, and the landscape that became a body,” echoing the wisdom of Abu al-Ala’ al-Ma‘ari: “My body is a rag to be sewn to earth, oh tailor of beings, sew me,” in a beautiful tale narrated with love and war, that has no beginning and no end.” 

The artworks were chosen by curator Rana Anani, to reveal the accumulative stages of Anani’s creative journey, underlining the development of his study of color and form, and his varied experiments with techniques, including the use of organic materials from the land and his ongoing experimentations with textures, compositions and repetition of elements on the surfaces of his paintings.  

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