Birzeit University Museum holds an exhibition in memory of renowned Palestinian artist Toufic Abdul-Al

Birzeit University Museum and the Faculty of Art, Music and Design opened the exhibition titled “Eternal Rhythms” that pays tribute to the late Palestinian artist Toufic Abdul-Al on March 2, 2020.  Nasser Soumi and Rula Dughman curated the exhibition.

Organized in cooperation with Dar El-Nimer, Beirut, and Bab i-Deir Gallery, Bethlehem, this exhibition was first presented in Beirut in 2018 at Dar El-Nimer. It introduces visitors to the artist’s thoughts, perspective, and imagination related to his forced exile from his hometown Acre. Visual memories and ties to his childhood inspired all of his artworks that include paintings, posters, sculptures and poems. The exhibition also displays a documentary about daily life in Acre and includes three short interviews with Abdul-Al’s son Tarek Abdel-Al, his student and friend Fawzi Ba’lbaki, and Soumi.

The idea that inspired this exhibition emerged after discussions between Soumi and Dughman (the two curators), Abdul-Al’s son Tarek, and Birzeit University Museum. “Eternal Rhythms” aims to present a new narrative of Toufic Abdul-Al’s works by showcasing the core of his art, connecting it to its origins, and highlighting an important stage of the Palestinian artistic, cultural, and political history in Beirut.

During the opening ceremony, Nazmi Al Jubeh, director of the museum, emphasized the importance of recalling the experience of Abdul-Al in exile. The artist’s international background, Al Jubeh pointed out, reflects an important era in the Palestinian art movement that was directly related to the political context and the Palestinian presence in Lebanon.

Curator Soumi, a renowned artist himself and a close friend of Abdul-Al, said that the exhibition sheds light on the latter’s artistic journey and showcases a selection of his work that is marked by a distinctive style. Soumi explained that Abdul-Al was loyal to his patriotic message throughout his artistic production. His artwork depicts the agony of exile and the Palestinians suffering after the 1948 Nakba as well as the artist’s longing for his hometown Acre.

Palestinian artist, sculptor, and poet Toufic Abdul-Al (1938–2002) was born in Acre, forced to leave Palestine in 1948, and lived the rest of his life in Lebanon. Enriching the Palestinian cultural heritage with a varied spectrum of exceptional works that feature his distinctive style, Abdul-Al joined the top ranks in the post-Nakba Palestinian art scene. He participated in tens of exhibitions in the Arab world, and his work has been recognized through numerous awards.

Abdul-Al lives on through his artwork, and at Birzeit University he is being commemorated in the exhibition “Eternal Rhythms.”