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Hazem Harb
Gaza / Palestine
(1980- )
Hazem Harb - For an artist who is only 26 years old, the most striking thing about Hazem Harb is his enormous output and the intensity of his work. Harb was born in 1980, Gaza.
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Hazem Harb

For an artist who is only 26 years old, the most striking thing about Hazem Harb is his enormous output and the intensity of his work. Harb was born in 1980 in Gaza where he lives and works. He studied art by enrolling in several courses offered by the YMCA and the Qattan Centre in Gaza city.

In the summer of 2001 he won a scholarship to study at the Academy of Art in Amman, Jordan. He also won a scholarship to spend two months in Paris in 2004 as an Artist in Residence through the Sortie programme financed by the Consulate General of France in Jerusalem where he worked on his project Left.

Harb is presently pursing his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, Italy. This international exposure allowed Harb to be known in the art circles of Europe. He joined the international Weather Report Group for contemporary art based in Holland. He is a member of the Shababeik from Gaza Group for contemporary art, a grouping of artists from the Gaza Strip whose art offers a ‘window’ on the art movement in Gaza. Harb’s works are mostly paintings in large format. Strong and swift strokes of paint reflect his fragile human nature.

His most recent works are monumental portraits that are larger than life and stirring. His main source of inspiration is the suffering in the Palestinian’s daily life. The life that all Palestinians live in the conflict and the Intifada and his personal life in a simple and poor region. Living in the midst of all this, he sees the suffering on the faces of the people around him every day. In his work he tries to reflect these expressions on their faces and tries to discover the different ways people express and deal with suffering.

He sees art as his one and only home in which he can live and express his feelings. His abstract work is often suffused with a sense of loss and hopelessness = as in the ghostly figures of refugee women who seem to wear their veils more like shrouds. Broken ladders suggesting the impossibility of escape are a recurring theme. And perhaps most powerful are a series of oval faces drained of life and desperately weary.

Harb has participated in a number of group exhibitions locally in Gaza, Ramallah, Bir Zeit and Jerusalem and internationally in Jordan, South Africa, France and Brazil. In Italy earlier this year his paintings teamed up with the photos of Italian-German photographer Gabrio Mucchi to stage “Life on the Line" in Bologna. He has had solo exhibitions at the French Cultural Centre in Gaza (2004); the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre in Ramallah (2003); and a touring exhibition in Italy (2003) that went to Rome, Florence, Pisa and Turin. His installations were shown in the garden of the Louvre in Paris, at the French Cultural Centre in Gaza and on the beach in Gaza city. Harb has also produced several short videos and has participated in numerous photography exhibitions. An exhibition of his work opens next month at the Institute of the Arab World in Paris. It will be Harb’s second show in France this year.

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Hazem Harb