The works of Samah Shehada present us with a visual statement that stands at the heart of the seminal question in the world of contemporary art. This statement arises from the branched connections between the internal place, the personal, and the obligated frozen sketch, which documents. It is a sketch that sharpens the conflict between these two opposites and defines the feelings we have when making an important decision, which move between the personal to the professional world and between the internal and social. Shehada’s works showcase the balance of power in the family – the man and the woman – as she herself mediates between them. She invests true effort in the protracted work of sketching, giving her the opportunity and time to formulate her decisions and to connect the different elements of a willful and patriarchal society, which oppresses the individual and subjugates it to control and policing.
The work and expression Shehada employs in engineering her body take on significance from art, and from the dynamics that are developing beneath her internal skin, until they finally bestow a defined identity on her, and she moves on, via the pores of her skin, to cover the skin on the body of others – the body of children caught up in the conflict, of the girls she draws, of the oppressed and the displaced – and of her own, so that the drawing, precise in all its details, appears to be breathing, casting aside all forms of boredom or fatigue. Techniques that present internal universes of dreams that are of significance to the body and the death it carries within, are the hallmark of artistic proficiency. Realistic paleness, sunset, benevolence, fragility and panting, which define the limits of self-image via the burning light of the feverish sun, are easily recognized in her creative work. This is because the body, which can offer us a perspective of the Palestinian world, can undoubtedly endure the complex emotions that touch on facts of reality that she has felt and experienced. The new stage in Palestinian art connects the female artist to her works, not just as one that has created them. The artist herself, whose body may have been absent previously from the work, or merely represented, has been transformed into her art’s central topic.