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Wednesday, April 26 • 11:15am - 11:35am
Laila Shawa: The Walls Of Gaza

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Laila Shawa is a Palestinian artist whose work illustrates the ongoing political turmoil and struggles of her homeland. After graduating from the Leonardo da Vinci School of Art in Cairo in 1957, and from the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome in 1964, she returned to Gaza to work with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine. Initially, she supervised arts education in refugee camps and worked with UN war photographer Hrant Nakasian. From 1977 to 1987 Shawa oversaw the design and building of the Rashad Shawa Cultural Centre, the first center of its kind in Gaza. Shawa is credited with pioneering the method of utilizing photography to create silk screen prints. This paper will consider her 1992 Walls of Gaza II series in the context of Contemporary Global Art with the aim to contribute to the scant scholarly discourse on this artist to date. Shawa created the twelve prints in this series to draw attention to the plight of Palestinian children growing up in the violence of Gaza. Her main source materials are photographs she has taken of graffiti, which serves as a form of communication for Palestinians, due to an Israeli ban on any other type of media. The photographs of the outer walls of homes in Gaza were taken by the artist over the course of many years. The research presented in this paper focuses primarily on her use of bright and whimsical colors to chronicle the rather serious themes of injustice and persecution.


Wednesday April 26, 2017 11:15am - 11:35am PDT
102 Owen Hall