A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.


55. Palestine-Kamal Bulata
“Revolution” by Kamal Boullata

The reason I’m so passionate about art is not because it’s beautiful, because I strongly believe that art doesn’t necessarily have to be beautiful. The reason also isn’t because art inspires me, nor is it because art is an expression of human creativity. I’m passionate about art because I see the story of civilization in art.

Does that make me a smart ass? Or does it mean that I am anxious to find a deeper identity? Maybe it’s because it helped me formulate myself, or perhaps I find relief from frustration in the one thing that stands as proof of my ideals. I don’t know. I can’t explain.

I should sit down once and try to articulate these thoughts. At the moment though, I’m anxious to express these feelings, but I find myself incapable in my current state of mind, so I will quote from a book about Kamal Boullata, a contemporary Palestinian artist:

“Behind this passion for geometry lies the tradition of icon painting which forged the beginnings of his artistic training, a tradition that has maintained a venerable continuity between Byzantinium and the Arab Islamic civilizations of the Middle East. Indeed, a correspondence necessarily manifests itself through this common heritage, where the contemporary artist leaves a trace of the secret of his initiation, of his voyage to the distant past.
“Centuries ago the same language of geometry was employed in my culture of origin”. In a brightly colored acrylic work titled “Jacob’s Ladder,” Boullata uses color and geometry to reflect the architecture, tilework and light of Palestine, and uses the title of the piece to evoke the three monotheistic religions.”

Does that make sense? Is it possible to relate the above excerpt to what I said?
During this time of intolerance and inability to celebrate diversity, art is the only satisfaction that allows me to freely indulge in the continuity of civilizations in the part of the world that my being stems from.

By combining Byzantinium with Arabo-Islamic influencs, Boullata celebrates what most of us forget.

We need a revolution of thought.


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  1. Husams

    Maybe because you are the new version of this art and the continuity of it. While cultures tend to clash, arts tend to combine. And being of an identity dominated by art, you find it’s naturally easier for yourself to combine with the other, than the minds dominated by the cultures. Maybe..

    Why our traditional Arabic-Islamic arts are likely to be of repeatable patterns, it shows discipline and commitment, give small space to creativity. Repeatability wanted when you reach what you are looking for, creativity when you still looking, I guess. It says “tharwa” also. hmm

  2. Let your mind and common sense drive your passion and not the other way around. from a number of your posts I have noticed that you have some sort of condescending tone towards people that either disagree or don’t understand your point of view. This is not their fault. It’s also human nature to disagree. As long as we’re respectful and don’t accuse anyone of being “Backward:متخلف” as you eloquently said.
    People have the right to disagree with anything and everything you do. This doesn’t make you a visionary, and doesn’t make them backward. They just might not have a taste for what you’re doing.
    Art is just as subjective. As people have different tastes based on many factors the will always have a taste and enjoy specifics of types of art. Many controversial forms of art have had resistance all throughout history. And others have had sort of universal acceptance. It’s hard to tell. But it’s a shame that any artist would think that he’s not the sum of everything in the society.

    Good luck. Remember art is a message. How you deliver it tells people who you are and how they would react to it.

  3. It’s been argued that we see the world through tired, complacent eyes and that the purpose of art is to make the world strange again so that we may see it with fresh vision.

    Remember what Kafka said about writing, that ” a book should be an ice-axe to break the frozen sea within us.”

  4. An off topic comment (and please excuse me): It would be interesting to see some of your Art sometime and what you guys do at the Arts department in UJ.

    I recall you posting 2 projects so far(if im not mistaken) the Tourist agency and the cafe. It was really visually entertaining.

    Would be wonderfull to see more of you work here, some paintings maybe? and if also of other students in UJ.

    Sorry for my indulgance. blame it on my curiosity:)

  5. Read Nick Mason’s “inside out” ~ the biography of Pink Floyd

  6. I am not into arts (in general) except for the part that I deal with at work.

  7. I would have believed you if you said that this was your work :) it seems your style and colour.
    And yes you are a smart ass ;)

    Ah and it seems to remind of some of your art work which I am still awaiting an answer on? ;)

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