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Gazan Artist: Art was my Escape and Comfort Zone, it Knows no Borders

"I see my world as I see my art, in colors, shapes, and abstract realities"

Jerusalem24 – “I see my world as I see my art, in colors, shapes, and abstract realities”.

Lana Shaheen, an abstract artist, and journalist started art at the age of seven participating in a competition at her school. “I remember asking my mom to buy me some tools to start painting for the first time. As a child, I participated in the competition not paying attention to win or lose”.

Art represented imagination to Lana; like many Palestinians and Gazans, she imagined a future for herself, her children, and grandchildren where there’s no war. She says “It’s hard to imagine a future when the present is so hard, that’s why my art was my escape and my comfort zone”.

“When I try to imagine, my mind takes me to a reality where kids do not see dead bodies and think it’s a normal sight. My mind takes me to a place where I do not have to worry about being unable to return home if I decide to study abroad”.

It’s not easy as Lana experienced three wars, which is the common experience of all Gazan of her generation.

However, after selling her first painting beyond the borders of Palestine, Lana believes that her thoughts do not recognize the meaning of borders. “This was the day I realized my future doesn’t know the meaning of war”.

Abstract art is an art school that does not attempt to represent an accurate visual reality but rather uses shapes, colors, and forms.

Lana participated in “We will not leave exhibition” which was inspired by the Alkurd family living in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, and curated by Sheikh khalifa Althani, representing the work of 27 artists from different nationalities, including Lana.

In collaboration with the designer and artist Haytham Sharrouf, Lana says “our idea was about the stain in our souls. As the stain is a memory and memories can hardly be clearly distinguished from anyone’s mind, exactly like a stain. If you tried hard to remove it, it will definitely leave a forever mark”.

In 2017 Lana opened her first exhibition “faceless humanity” which included 25 portraits reflecting her feelings after the war of 2014.

The exhibition aimed at delivering a message to the international and local community, of seeing Palestine for its reality.

“The future is me, the future is women. Women have the ability to not only listen carefully but also empathize and respond in a way that makes others feel understood, women always have so much love to give. A woman is a mom, a teacher, and a family. Women are always hard workers, even the use of women in art is so important because she’s the main character in society”.

Lana was inspired by many artists, especially Niveen Ezzeldeen, a Palestinian artist living in Jordan.

“They say you get your inspiration from your pain, but I say we get it from resilience”.

For more details follow the link to the full interview!

Nadeen Alshaer

Alshaer is a Palestinian journalist, a Birzeit University graduate with a B.A. in TV and Radio Broadcasting Journalism. Alshaer has 6 years of experience in journalism. She currently works as a reporter, editor and presenter/producer for PBC-Palestine TV and Jerusalem24 radio. She’s a UN and Kelley School of Business alumna.

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