A new version of the famous Palestinian painting “Camel Al-Mahamel”, which topped the background of the press conference of Hamas leader Yahya Al-Sinwar in Gaza a few days ago, drew the Palestinian public, with its transformation that reflects the change in the style and tools of confrontation between the Palestinians and Israel after the events of Jerusalem and the recent aggression on Gaza.
The painting by the Palestinian artist Suleiman Mansour in 1973 of an elderly Palestinian carrying Jerusalem alone on a curved back appeared in Gaza in a new look, and the elderly has turned into an armed Palestinian resistance with a straight back who looks firmly at his enemy. Read also A rare Renaissance painting has become one of the most expensive works in the world600 years old.. the most expensive painting sold at the beginning of 2021Painted by Churchill .. Angelina Jolie displays a Moroccan mosque painting at auction in Britain Emilia Clarke publishes her picture with an Arabic painting, in solidarity with the Syrian revolution on its tenth anniversary
The researcher and analyst Adnan Abu Amer wrote on his page that the “Camel Bearings” that the Palestinians grew up with decades ago has become today a painting of “a young Horsor resistance carrying the case and his rifle together … the change of time, his tools, and his murals as well.”
Al-Jazeera Net met the owner of the painting, Suleiman Mansour, who drew its first copy in 1973 and was lost in mysterious circumstances, then painted a next copy in 1976 that was acquired by the Libyan ambassador in Amman and donated it to the late President Muammar Gaddafi, and it was later learned that it was destroyed in the US bombing of Gaddafi’s palace in Tripoli in 1986.
And in 2005 Mansour redrawn the painting Camel Al-Muhallaf for a third time, and it is hanging today in the Ramzi Dalloul Museum in the Lebanese capital Beirut.
From the old to the resistant
Mansour said that this painting, which was hung in Palestinian homes and printed in everyone’s memory, was altered a lot, Palestinians and non-Palestinians, but “I saw that it carried a new idea in the way it appeared in Gaza.”
Mansour added, “They did not put the face of a political person, but rather the face of a young resistance man who is preparing the future in the eyes of the Palestinians, the resistance who carries Jerusalem on his back.” As for the owner of the original painting, “it was never bothersome.”
Mansour was inspired by his painting upon its first drawing from the scene of the great sheikh “porter” who works in the markets of Jerusalem and carries on his back goods that exceed his size and capacity. The exhausted man in the painting represented the Palestinian people who carry the issue of Jerusalem on their shoulders.
Mansour points out that many international icons have been modified for political and social reasons.
Mansour himself used the drawings of the Italian artist and sculptor Michelangelo in modern political and artistic drawings on the apartheid wall.
“The use of icons in different expressions is legitimate,” he said.
Mansour adds that the elderly person in the painting symbolizes the Palestinian with deep roots. In the new Hilla, Mansour saw the youth carrying the issue and they are its future, “and this means that the youth are taking their role strongly and efficiently as well,” he said.
art in confrontation
As for the artist Khaled Hourani, he said, “It is amusing in political events and such a big battle that art is present in a strong way, including the painting of Jamal Al-Mahamil, and in a central conference to celebrate the victory.”
In Hourani’s opinion, “This is an indication of the presence of art and its living among people. It is very natural for him to employ expressions of this kind.”
But he says, “The painting may carry the issue of the elderly, porter and civilian as well as the fighter, because the last confrontation in Palestine involved everyone carrying a missile or someone throwing a stone, and those who exhibit costumes, those who sing raps, and those who defend their home like the Kurds, everyone carried Jerusalem and Palestine on his shoulders.” “.
Hourani says that art not only accompanies political events, but precedes them in capturing and revealing the truth. Palestinian art did not begin with the events of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, Bab al-Amud and in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, but rather came to the last revolution from people’s memory and was used in a remarkable way.
In 2019, Hourani published his first book entitled “Searching for Camel Bearings”, in which he tried to investigate the fate of the painting from its first copy and its loss until the death of its owner, Muammar Gaddafi, in 2011, and during that time Hourani was searching for the transformations of Palestine during the years of the “Arab Spring”.
In the recent Palestinian events, as social media platforms restricted Palestinian content and some Palestinian symbols, artist Khaled Hourani recovered his painting “Watermelon”, which he painted in 2007, and expressed in its colors, red, black, green and white, the Palestinian flag when the occupation prevented its raising.
Hourani also mentions the use by Hamas of his initiative of the “Distance to Jerusalem” painting in a picture of the head of its political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, which he still keeps, in which Haniyeh refers to the distance between Gaza and Jerusalem.
Hourani says that art exists for the masses to interact with, and it cannot be stored, and acting on the camel bearings in this way is part of celebrating it. He believes that any artist should be proud to use his paintings in the context of bringing to the world the narrative of his people.
After her new outfit in Gaza, artistic voices appeared warning against changing an icon like Jamal Al-Mahamil. In the opinion of Palestinian cartoonist Muhammad Saba’na, “Palestinians are confronted with their cultural heritage and suffer artistic and cultural theft from the occupier always, so caution is required in dealing with and changing their artistic icons.”