"Through Painting in Practice Life" - Exhibition of Marwan Kassab Bashi's Work Opens in Jerusalem

An exhibition by the renowned Syrian artist, Marwan Kassab Bashi, was opened on 9 March in the Al-Wasiti Center, Jerusalem, in cooperation with the Goethe Institute. Marwan has lived in Berlin for 40 years and this exhibition will tour Palestine over several weeks with the aim of introducing his work to Palestinians. Marwan is a member of the Berlin Art Association and his art is displayed in many museums over the world.

In May 1998, two exhibitions of Marwan's work were held at Birzeit University and the Khalil Sakakini Center. A total of 75 paintings were exhibited in cooperation with the Goethe Institute. Marwan donated this exhibition, titled "To the Children in Palestine", to Birzeit University as a symbol of his deep commitment to Palestine.

In its appreciation of Marwan's work and commitment, Birzeit University launched a traveling exhibition in 1999, by displaying a selection of his paintings and etchings at the Arts and Crafts Village in Gaza City. Another exhibition was held at the Children's Arts Center in Hebron and this week the exhibition moved to Jerusalem.

"Palestine, the core of earth"
Marwan's work demonstrates his belief that "Separating the artist from his origins, the country where he was born and where he grew up is not possible. In himself, he is always carrying his culture, his joy and his sorrow. This connection creates an inexhaustible source from where he benefits his whole life. It creates a river running through fields, valleys and even continents.

"This source is a gift, overall humanity, in it is the colourful ideal as it was with Goya and Vermeer, as with Cezanne and Al-Wasiti.

"Palestine - in my consciousness - is the core of my own country. It's violation created in me an existential relationship with it - both intimate and angry. The love and welcome I received in Palestine and my journeys through Palestinian cities brings me joy. And so the river winds its way back through narrow valleys in order to return to its original source."

"Through Painting, I Practice Life" 
Speaking of his own painting and work, Marwan says, "I have been painting and drawing since childhood. This work is as necessary for life as is oxygen. I have never stopped this work because I believe in what I am doing and what I am living for. It is a love of life and its beauty and the reflection of nature and its effects on myself. With that, I practice life through painting."

The current exhibition of Marwan's work is accompanied by a display of 18 books by the respected Arab writer, Abdul Rahman Muneif. New editions of Muneif's books were issued recently, accompanied by selected drawings and design of Marwan.

The exhibition will continue in Jerusalem until 21 March. Following that it will be displayed in Nablus at the Palestine Children's Center from 23 March until 1 April. It will then move to Bethlehem where it will be displayed from 2 April to 16 April.