Date: 2004

AUTHOR: Judith Staines


PUBLISHER: Culture base at Visiting Arts

SOURCE: Culture base at Visiting Arts

Hassan Hourani, Rooted in Memory

Born in Hebron, Palestinian artist Hasan Hourani studied in Iraq at the College of Fine Art in Baghdad, graduating in 1997.

From 1997 to 1999 he was Art Instructor at the Women's Society College in Ramallah and also co-ordinated exhibitions at the Mattal Gallery in Ramallah. From 1999-2000 he was Exhibition Co-ordinator and Researcher at the Wasiti Art Centre in Jerusalem. He also worked as Art Director and exhibition designer for Al A'arabi Marketing and Advertising. From 2001, he lived and worked in New York.

Hourani created installations that explored issues of memory, place and time. He drew, painted and worked with materials from his environment - soil, wood, ropes, sand, plants.

'Minna wa Fina' (From Our Flesh and Blood) was created in Palestine in 2000 and won second prize in the A M Qattan Foundation's annual competition for young Palestinian artists. The installation was rooted in the artist's memories and connections with place and presented a series of cubes of clay and sand from across Palestine. Hourani described the configuration and impact of the piece: 'The lines are different yet harmonious. They tell the story of the earth and condense in front of my eyes the whole magic of the land. These modern shapes reveal anew the ancestral soil.'

Hourani exhibited in Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan and South Korea. In 2000, his work was shown at the United Nations in New York.

In 2002, Hourani's work was exhibited at the Williamsburg Art and Historical Gallery, New York. In conjunction with the exhibition he conducted a collaborative drawing project 'One Day for One Night'.

Hourani taught a creative technique he called 'Drawing through Yoga'. He described the approach: 'Freedom emits from the body and mind alike. Creative art depends on this. While the body is the means of physical production, the mind is what gives it creative direction. In the organic relationship between the two, the artist is freed from traditional ways of drawing and can soar to higher levels of drawing technique. This can be reached through meditation, concentration and the physical training of the eye, hand and body. Meditation or yoga clears the path for a sharper perception of shapes and allows us to harness the depth of our energy, freeing the hand and body to create as one.'

Hasan Hourani was shortlisted for the Visiting Arts/Delfina Annual Fellowship in 2001 on the nomination of Ziad Khalaf, Director of the A M Qattan Foundation in Ramallah, Palestine.

On 6th August 2003, Hasan Hourani drowned near the port of Jaffa, Tel Aviv. He had been working on a children's book 'Hasan Everywhere', which is due to be published in 2004. The A M Qattan Foundation has established the Hasan Hourani Young Artist of the Year Award in his memory.

Palestinian artist Hasan Hourani was born in Hebron in 1974. He attended the College of Fine Art in Baghdad, Iraq from 1993-97. In 2001, he studied at the Art Student's League of New York and continued to live in the city for several years. His work has been exhibited in Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, South Korea, New York and Houston. In August 2003, Hasan Hourani drowned near the port of Jaffa, Tel Aviv.