After exhibiting a first chapter of his works – portraits of his family, his friends, and the environs of Rahat – at Ein Harod (Autumn, 2011), Khader Oshah is focusing on a still-burning childhood memory, a personal and collective trauma.
In a quasi-conceptual format using a series of Bedouin breast embroideries and literary poetic texts, Oshah evokes a parade of ghosts of faceless absent-yet-present women, unit after unit. In rows upon rows they float in the white space, drawing our gaze to the red number that indicates the woman’s age at the time when the thread of her life was cut by a man in a socially sanctioned act.

In this quasi-conceptual array, each of the works is a memorial to a particular woman who lived and died: the conceptual presentation is networked with the data of the area.

The ages of the women range from 12 to 85. Forty women were murdered in the years 2004–2006.

The breast embroideries (worn over the heart) are like identity disks: they are stratified with inner codes of status, family situation, and geographical location, discernible by the colors, the kind of thread used, the density of the embroidery, the lines of stitching. The embroidery on the Bedouin dress symbolizes the body and soul of each woman with her own life-burden.

Khader Oshah, a man and an artist, not infrequently chooses the embroidery that passes on a woman’s heritage as a means of representing the power of expression of the individual who examines her or his identity.

As on the pages of the Qur’an or on tombstones, lines of poetry by Nidaa Khoury and Mahmoud Darwish appear on a black background.

“The feather of purity slaughtered me”, writes Nidaa Khoury.

For the first time in Palestinian art, Khader Oshah evokes a personal and collective trauma of murders committed for family honour – to contain it in a museum as a site of memory and a liminal space – to provoke and to comment, from the sheltered space of the museum to the space of responsibility and life.

Khader Oshah


Curator: Galia Bar OR

January 2012

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