Laila Shawa: Mother of Arabic Revolution Art

The 75-year-old Laila born in Gaza, daughter of late Rashad Shawa, mayor of Gaza, is seen as an important figure in Arabic revolutionary contemporary art. She attended many schools such as the School of Art Leonardo Da Vinci in Cairo, the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma, the School of Seeing in Salzburg, Austria, ending her school career at the Scuola di Arti Ornamentali in Rome. And that for a young girl from Gaza.

She supervised Arts and crafts education in Gaza refugee camps led by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. But there’s more. For a year she lectured an art class for children with UNESCO’s Institute of education.

Together with her father and her ex-husband, Rasha Shawa founded the cultural centre in Gaza in 1988. The purpose of the centre was to connect Gaza with the cultural world by staging exhibitions and holding annual festivals. There is also a theatre and a library inside the centre, but due to all the events that happened in Gaza the centre isn’t serving the aim it was built for.

I could go on and on with facts about Laila Shawa. But that is not what you are here for. Why is Laila Shawa so revolutionary? Simple. Because her art is her way to raise awareness for her country’s situation and I’m not afraid to say that she’s probably one of the first female contemporary artists to do so.

Artworks

Walls of Gaza

In this collection she takes pictures of graffiti around Gaza to show the reality of Palestine.   According to her the graffiti in Gaza is different from graffiti all over the world. Because graffiti in Gaza is used by the inhabitants to communicate with each other.

Target, 1992
Target, 1992
Barriers to statehood, 1992
Barriers to statehood, 1992
5
Children of war children of peace, 1996

Cities of Gold

The golden city, 1993-94
The golden city, 1993-94
The house of God II, 1993-94
The house of God II, 1993-94

Collection unknown

Weapon of mass destruction, 2002
Weapon of mass destruction, 2002

And last but not least my favourite artwork of Laila Shawa.

Palestinian spring, 2012
Palestinian spring, 2012

Written by Hafsa Elazzaoui

Hafsa Elazzaoui

Hafsa Elazzaoui is a 20-year-old language student with Arabic and English as her main courses. She has a passion for food and fashion.