Ahmad Canaan | Humankind under Siege
Curator: Yosif Elias
Besiege your siege, there’s no other choice Fight your enemy, there’s no other choice Your arm has fallen, so pick it up I have fallen, so pick me up And fight your enemy with me, For you are now free ... free ... free!
(Mahmoud Darwish, “The Mask Has Fallen”)
The concept of siege captures Palestinian pain with all its manifestations. The separation fence; checkpoints at the entrances to Palestinian cities and villages; the economic siege, with the shadow that it casts and the mental siege that it spawns—they shape the Palestinian individual and social image even in refugee camps in Arab countries.
Ahmad Canaan derived the contents of this exhibition from pictures and stories of people who are besieged in diverse ways, including a media siege. In some cases, he was inspired by the personal experiences of people who suffered, and continue suffer, from the cruel siege that has already become part of their daily routine. Canaan embodies his ideas in wood sculptures to which he sometimes adds metal. Most of the figures who inhabit these works are seen in postures of standing and waiting—creating a rhythm of muteness, of silence reverberating in the void, in hope of breaking the siege and returning to freedom.
The people in these sculptures have no religious or national characteristics. Their faces are free of identifying details. They have neither eyes nor mouths. This gives them an iconic dimension, allowing their viewers to experience empathy and discover the dimension of pain, not only of the Palestinian people but of all besieged people worldwide. It is also the source of the title of the exhibition, “Humankind under Siege.” Applying his talent, Canaan lends his works a human dimension that surmounts all spatial and temporal limits.