February 18, 2020
Fabric of Memory
How many times are we supposed to rebuild Gaza? How often are we supposed to memorize a new geography? How many new geographies will Gaza “wear” each year?
Nobody knows the answer to these questions, and maybe it's not even necessary, as these intuitive questions will find many possible answers and raise other questions about what is happening in Gaza.
The imposed, hated “renewal” is a perpetual story with ongoing wars that affect everyone and everything alike – human beings, creatures, and things.
Every two years, Gaza is forced to take off its old robe and put on a new architectural dress; the clothes-changing and the adaptation to it are exhausting and impoverishing Gaza more every time. Instead, it is longing for
stability and continuity on the map.
Gaza has become a space that has no routine at all: when it's war, it's difficult to call it war, and living repeatedly through such radical transformation makes it almost impossible to cope, time after time, with a profoundly altered
geography. The course of the streets, the shape of the houses, everything is different now. Here was a street surrounding a public park, and there was a hotel next to a tower, and an apartment building hosting a grocery store on its ground floor. Everything has changed!
A few years ago, there had also been a hospital, a government department, an institution, and a branch street open to another street... none of it is left.
Joha was born in Gaza - Palestine in 1978 and currently lives and works between Paris and Italy.
He graduated in Art Education from Al-Aqsa University in Gaza in 2003. same year he participated in a workshop residency in Darat Al Funun, Khalid Shoman Foundation in Amman-Jordan, supervised by artist Marwan Kassab Bacchi. In 2004, he was the winner of the A. M. Qattan Foundation s "Hassan Al Hourani Young Artist Award", when he was elected Artist of the Year 2004. This allowed him to reside in the “Cité Internationale des Arts” in Paris in 2005 and 2008, where he develops and strengthens his artistic personality. Besides being selected for international workshops and residencies, he has participated in exhibitions worldwide. Joha has been working in the field of painting and has gathered a remarkable artistic experience.
He is one of the most interesting artists from Gaza-Palestine, who stands out by a very elaborate personal style of painting, a masterly combination of various artistic elements in his compositions, and most sophisticated messages. Through mixed techniques of painting, collages, installation, together with a most spontaneous, expressive style, much of his work has explored the questions and conditions of childhood and the loss of innocence and freedom experienced by generations of children in Palestine. The overcoming of physical and psychological barriers imposed by conflict; revolutionary social and political events; resilience and identity are recurrent themes. The closer his works are examined, the more complex they become, in texture, content, and narrative. These multilayered, transformed representations of reality leave room for imagination and interpretation, because they are inspired by universal values and reflect the memory of a collective entity, without being bound to cultural restrictions or temporary or local individualistic gestures.