15 January – 2 April 2020
Opening reception: Wednesday 15 January | 6.00 – 9.00 pm
Tayseer Barakat’s body of work ‘Shoreless Sea’ manifests as a witness account on the refugees’ mayhem journeys through the Mediterranean Sea. A subject of a strong relevance to the artist’s life; Barakat is a refugee himself who lived a good part of his life as a child by the Mediterranean shores of Gaza and as a university student by the Mediterranean shores of Alexandria.
Nonetheless, this same sea that he grew to love, has transformed in recent years to become a beast that swallows fellow refugees in their desperate trips in search for new decent lives in Europe.
In his paintings, the sea appears as if it has withdrawn its shores and hid them away, leaving flights of refugees to their gloomy fate. His artworks depict a constantly wavy monster, which seems as if breathing heavily from beneath the boats through the lungs of hundreds of refugees who lost their lives under the water in their journeys to “shoreless” Europe.
Tayseer Barakat was born in Gaza in 1959 and completed his arts education in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1983. After completing his studies, he moved to Ramallah where he has since based – both teaching and creating art. Barakat has worked with a variety media and has experimented widely – with wood, metal and glass – and has become one of Palestine’s foremost artists working today. Painting remains his first love and he continues to work at a prolific rate, drawing on the artistic heritage of the region and its ancient influences.
Tayseer Barakat is one of Palestine’s prominent artists whose practice has drawn inspiration from the ancient past and from the oral traditions and cultural narratives that are intimately tied to life in Palestine. Working primarily in paint, inks, and dyes, he uses a color palette that is often limited to monochrome tones, which imbues his works with a certain soberness. In Barakat’s words, the dark colors he uses “reflect the hardships of our time and our present life. I think the pressure on us makes us use dark colors.”
His solo exhibitions included Sao Paulo Biennale, Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1996, The Number that Became a Name, Ramallah in 2006 and Distant Voices – Zawyeh Gallery, Ramallah in 2014. In addition, he has held 10 solo exhibitions and has participated in numerous group exhibitions with many of his contemporaries in Japan, USA, Brazil, Europe and across the Arab world.