About the Artist

Sliman Mansour (1947)

Sliman MansourSliman Mansour is one of the most distinguished and renowned artists in Palestine. His style embodies steadfastness in the face of a relentless military occupation. His work —  which has come to symbolize the Palestinian national identity — has inspired generations of Palestinians and international artists and activists alike.

Born in 1947, Mansour spent his childhood around the verdant hills and fields of Birzeit — where he was born — and later his adolescence in Bethlehem and Jerusalem. These experiences left a significant mark on his work, heightening a sense of gradual loss in Palestine, especially after the occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem in 1967. His early experiences also presented him with the symbols and images he would later use to preserve and highlight Palestinian identity.

By using symbols derived from Palestinian life, culture, history, and tradition, Mansour uniquely illustrates Palestinians’ resolve and connection with their land. His pieces epitomize art as a form of resistance. With orange trees, he represents land lost in the Nakba of 1948. With olive trees, he represents land occupied in 1967. With women wearing traditional embroidered dresses, he represents Palestinian land and the Palestinian revolution. With the landscape of Palestine and its stone terraces, he represents the mark of Palestinian farmers on the land. With images of Jerusalem, and the glistening Dome of the Rock, he represents the Palestinian homeland and the dream of return.

Sliman Mansour’s art deftly reflects the hopes and realities of a people living under occupation for the better part of a century. Since the early 1970s, he has translated his experiences of isolation, displacement, community, and rootedness using imagery and symbols that have contributed to the development of an iconography of the Palestinian struggle. Paintings such as “Jamal al-Mahamel” (Camel of Hardships or Camel of Burdens) — with its iconic porter whose heavy and precious load is the Jerusalem that all Palestinians yearn for — were made into posters, cards, and stickers. Such images were popularized in direct defiance of Israeli military authorities, who frequently confiscated artwork and posters and closed exhibitions and galleries.

Sliman Mansour’s artistic mediums have varied throughout his long career — changing to match his experience of displacement in his homeland and the developments and transformations of the Palestinian national movement. Mansour, together with artists Vera Tamari, Tayseer Barakat, and Nabil Anani, founded the New Visions movement in 1987. The movement was formed in response to the first intifada, and called on artists to boycott Israeli art supplies and instead utilize local natural materials such as coffee, henna, and clay. Mud — the basis for human life in many cultures and religions as well as an actual piece of Palestinian land — was a tool of choice for Mansour. Using mud, he created symbols of identity that celebrated the rich and varied Palestinian culture. At the same time, Mansour captured the essence of Palestinian rootedness as well as the fragmentation in the Palestinian political landscape and geography — echoed in the cracks growing in the mud as it dries.

In addition to playing a key role in developing the Palestinian national visual identity through his rich and multi-faceted oeuvre, Mansour has also greatly contributed to developing the artistic movement in Palestine. In 1973, he co-founded the League of Palestinian Artists, which he led for several years. In 1994, he co-founded al-Wasiti Art Center in Jerusalem, which was established to build a bridge between Palestinian artists and their compatriots in exile, as well as with other international artists in order to archive and preserve art in Palestine. Mansour is a founding Board member of the International Academy of Art, and he has taught at several Palestinian cultural and educational institutions, such as Al-Quds University.

Sliman Mansour has showcased his artwork at national and international exhibitions, including: the Inaugural Exhibition, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris 1987; “Occupation and Resistance,” the Other Museum, New York 1990; the Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah 1995; “Seven Palestinian Artists,” Darat al Funun, Amman 1997; “Made in Palestine,” the Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston 2003; “Art Palestine,” Meem Gallery, Dubai 2011; and “Abstraction and Calligraphy — Towards a Universal Language,’ Louvre Abu Dhabi in collaboration with Centre Pompidou, 2021. In 1998, Mansour received the Palestine Prize for the Visual Arts and the Grand Nile Prize At the Seventh Cairo Biennial. In 2019, he was awarded the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture for his role in highlighting Palestinian and Arab cultures internationally.

Awards and Honors

2019 UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture

1998 Palestine Prize for the Visual Arts

1998 – Grand Nile Prize, Seventh Cairo Biennial, Egypt

Collections

The British Museum, London, UK

Mathaf: Museum of Fine Arts, Doha, Qatar

Guggenheim Museum, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE

The Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France

Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon

Dar El-Nimer for Art & Culture, Beirut, Lebanon

Bank of Palestine Collection, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

Birzeit University Museum, Birzeit, Occupied Palestine

The Palestinian Museum, Birzeit, Occupied Palestine

The Khalid Shoman Collection: Darat Al Funun, Amman, Jordan

Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Jordan

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2017 – Sliman Mansour: Terrains of Belonging, a retrospective at Art Dubai, Dubai, UAE

2011 – Sliman Mansour: Terrains of Belonging, a retrospective at al-Hoash, Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine

2007 – Sketches, Al-Mamal Gallery, Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine

2003 – The Fabric of Memory, Sharjah Museum, Sharjah, UAE

2001 – Ten Years in Mud, a solo traveling exhibition shown in Ramallah, Nazareth, and Gaza, Occupied Palestine

1998 – I Ismael, Cairo Biennial, Cairo, Egypt

1996 – Palestinian Art: Suleiman Mansour, Stavanger City Hall, Norway

1993 – Ritz Carlton Hotel, Washington DC, USA

1992 – Roots, United Nations, New York, USA

1981 – Sliman Mansour Exhibition, Gallery 79, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine 

Selected Group Exhibitions

2019       Challenges of Identity, Dar El Nimr, Beirut, Lebanon

2019       Intimate Terrains: Representations of a Disappearing Landscape, The Palestinian Museum, Birzeit, Occupied Palestine

2018       El Beit, Tabari Artspace, Dubai, UAE

2018       Jerusalem: 51 Years of Occupation, Zawyeh Gallery, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

2018       Subcontracted Nations, A. M. Qattan Foundation, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

2018       A Century in Flux, Highlights from the Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah, UAE

2018       There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, organized by Darat Al Funun, at the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center and Bab idDeir Art Gallery, Bethlehem, Occupied Palestine

2017       Reviewing Oneself & The Art of Living, The Walled off Hotel Gallery, Bethlehem, Occupied Palestine

2017       A Sight of Disjunction, organized by A. M. Qattan Foundation (AMQF), Manjam – Haifa Culture Lab, Haifa, Occupied Palestine

2017       Jerusalem Lives, Inaugural exhibition of the Palestinian Museum, the Palestinian Museum Birzeit, Occupied Palestine

2017       Mathaf Collection, Summary, Part 2, MATHAF (Arab Museum of Modern Art), Doha, Qatar

2016       Our Homeland is Our Homeland, Yaser Arafat Museum, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

2016       Rendez-vous, Zawyeh Gallery, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

2016       Walls and Margins, Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE

2016       Unlike Other Springs, Birzeit University Museum, Birzeit, Occupied Palestine

2016       Winter Collective, Zawyeh Gallery, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

2015       Narratives, Zawyeh Gallery, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

2015       Rituals of Signs and Transitions (1975-1995), Darat al Funun, Jordan

2014       In Memory, Zawyeh Gallery, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

2014       Colors of life, Zawyeh Gallery, Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

2014       Sky over the East, Barjeel Art Foundation, Emirates Palace, UAE

2011       Framed – Unframed, The Changing Representation of Women in Palestinian Visual Arts, Ethnographic & Art Museum, Birzeit University, Occupied Palestine

2011       Art Palestine: Nabil Anani, Sliman Mansour, Tayseer Barakat, Meem Gallery, Dubai, UAE

2010       Contemporary Graphic Art from the Arab World, Nabad Gallery, Amman, Jordan

2010       Residua, Barjeel Art Foundation, Maraya Art Centre, Al Qasba, Sharjah, UAE

2009       Rafia Gallery, Damascus-Syria

2008       Never part, Brussels, Belgium

2007       Santa’s Ghetto, Bethlehem Manger Square, Occupied Palestine

2006       Palestinian Art, Um Al-Fahem Gallery, Um Al-Fahem, Occupied Palestine

2005       Three Cities against the Wall, Ramallah,Tel-Aviv, New York, at: ABC No Rio and 6th Street Community Center, New York, USA, Al-Hallaj Gallery, Ramallah, and Beit Ha’omanim, Tel Aviv, Occupied Palestine

2005       Virtual Book, Library of Alexandria, Egypt

2005       Inaugural Exhibition of the Jordan National Gallery Complex, Under the patronage of Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania Al – Abdullah, Jordan National Museum, Amman, Jordan

2004       Colors of Life and Resistance, UNESCO, Paris, France

2003       Made in Palestine, Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston, Texas, USA

2003       35 artists against the Occupation. Israeli and Palestinian artists. Jaffa – Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine

2002       From the Ocean to the Gulf and Beyond: Arab Contemporary Art, on the occasion of: Amman the Arab Cultural Capital 2002, Jordan National Gallery of Fine Art, Amman, Jordan

2002       Between Legend and Reality: Modern Art from the Arab World, organized by Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, at: The Dossari Hall, Kuwait City, Kuwait, Akureyri Art Museum, Iceland and the Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland

1999       Palestinian Artists today, Drammens Museum, Norway

1998       Seventh International Cairo Biennial, Cairo, Egypt

1998       50 years of Nakbah, Nazareth, Occupied Palestine

1997       Artistes Palestiniens Contemporains, as a part of The Palestinian Spring, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris and various locations in France

1997       Seven Palestinian Artists, Darat al Funun, Amman, Jordan 

1996       Building Bridges, Ministry of Culture, Luxembourg, Belgium

1994       Sans Titre, French Cultural Center, Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine
Building Bridges, Meridian House, Washington, D.C. USA

1992       Seven Palestinian artists: Suleiman Mansour, Tayseer Barakat, Nabil Anani, Khalil Rabah, Jawad al Mahli, Yacoub al Kurd, and Vera Tamari, Darat al Funun, Amman, Jordan  

1990       Occupation and Resistance, The Other Museum, New York, USA
Festival d’Asilah, Asilah, Morocco

1990       Trial & Creativity” (Palestine): Nabil Anani, Suliman Mansour, Tayseer Barakat, and Vera Tamari, Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Jordan

1989       First Festival of Palestinian Culture, Cairo, Egypt

1989       Contemporary Art from the Islamic World, organized by the Jordan

1989       National Gallery of Fine Arts, In cooperation with the Islamic Arts Foundation, The Barbican Center, London., London, UK

1988       It’s Possible, Cooper Union, New York, USA 

1987       Stop the Occupation, Israeli and Palestinian artists, Artists House, Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine

1987       The Inaugural Exhibition, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France

1985       Palestinian Spring, Al Hakawati Theatre, Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine

1984       Festival of Birzeit, West Bank, Occupied Palestine

1982       Down with Occupation -Israeli and Palestinian artists, Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine

1982       Art under the Occupation, National Museum, Kuwait City, Kuwait

1981       Kunsternes Hus, Oslo, Norway

1980       State Museum of Oriental Arts, Moscow, USSR

1979       The Third World and Japan, Tokyo, Japan

1978       International Art Exhibition for Palestine, Beirut, Lebanon

1975       The first group exhibition of Palestinian Art under occupation, YMCA Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine

Contribution as Cartoonist

1981-1993 – Mansour was a contributor of cartoons in Al-Fajr English Weekly, once published in Jerusalem.

Publications

Sliman Mansour, Monograph by Faten Nastas Mitwasi

Sliman Mansour, Monograph by Palestinian Art Court-Al Hoash, Jerusalem, with essays by Bashir Makhoul, Nicola Gray, and Tina Sherwell

External Links about Sliman Mansour

Instagram Gallery

Facebook Page

Wikipedia