Asim Abu Shaqra (Palestinian, 1961-1990)
Lots are subject to 5% import Duty on the importat… Read more
Asim Abu Shaqra (Palestinian, 1961-1990)


Asim Abu Shaqra (Palestinian, 1961-1990)
oil on paper
39 3/8 x 27½in. (100 x 70cm.)
Painted in 1988
The Artist's Family Collection, Umm el Fahm.
N. Itzhaki (ed.), Asim Abu Shaqra, Milan 2013 (illustrated in colour, p. 72).
Tel Aviv, Rap Gallery, Asim Abu Shaqra, 1989.
Kibbutz Cabri, Cabri Gallery, Asim Abu Shaqra, 1990.
Jerusalem, The Israel Museum, Issam Abu-Shakra Memorial, 1990.
Tel Aviv, Museum of Art, Asim Abu Shakra, 1994.
Special notice
Lots are subject to 5% import Duty on the importation value (low estimate) levied at the time of collection shipment within UAE. For UAE buyers, please note that duty is paid at origin (Dubai) and not in the importing country. As such, duty paid in Dubai is treated as final duty payment. It is the buyer's responsibility to ascertain and pay all taxes due.

Brought to you by

Bibi Naz Zavieh
Bibi Naz Zavieh

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

'It was always that way: the desire to return to the protected and familiar place. Even now when I am sitting in a familiar coffee shop, in the neighborhood where I have lived for quite a few years, I have an expectation inside that something will happen. I don't know Maybe both threatening, and also being threatened. Not belonging.'
(The artist quoted in E. Buganim, "The Palestinian Sabra", in Haaretz (online version), 22 December 2013).

Arguably the greatest Palestinian artist of his generation, painter Asim Abu Shaqra unquestionably left a profound mark on the collective Palestinian identity. Born in the village of Umm el-Fahm to a religious Muslim family as the seventh of ten children, Abu Shaqra had always acknowledged himself as a painter. He began illustrating images of his homeland from a young age and painted everyday objects that held substantial symbolic meaning. Unlike many Palestinian artists, Abu Shaqra did not concentrate on revolutionary and nationalistic portrayals. He was patriotic on a more intimate level and rather was preoccupied with the exploration of the Palestinian identity, one of a continuously indeterminate fate and constantly in a vague state of limbo.

At the age of 18, after receiving a scholarship, Abu Shaqra left for Tel Aviv to study at the Kalisher School of Art, where he subsequently taught painting. It was there that the artist developed an obsession with the concepts of identity and belonging. Being a Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim individual in a Jewish environment entirely foreign to him transformed his character in a way that would affect the rest of his life. He yearned for his village and his family, but was unable to return to them. Struggling to make ends meet, Abu Shaqra found himself alone and in harsh circumstances.

In Neckties from 1988), the artist paints six compulsively repetitive neckties hanging in a plain closet. The painting subtly discloses Abu Shaqra's character and complexes through its understated elegance. Of consistently proportioned shape and composition, the neckties resemble those belonging to a working family man. Rich in earthy tones, the colours used further emphasise the normalcy of the situation depicted as well as his background. The thick brushstrokes reveal an obsessive mindset. Abu Shaqra, who suffered severely from an identity crisis and confusion concerning the notions of home, belonging and identity, is visibly longing for a state of normality and regularity, as represented by ordinary and corporate-looking ties hanging in one's closet at home, objects often overlooked and taken for granted, but indeed symbolising the very essence of home. To the artist himself, they were an emblem of home and routine, opposing the austere environment and conditions in which he found himself following his departure from all familiarity at a young age. Perhaps Abu Shaqra knew that he would never achieve such a drastically dissimilar life than his own, due to his social and professional circumstances, which only fueled his obsessive painting. His longing for such an unattainable life can be clearly observed in the compulsive repetition of his commonplace subjects, exuding his comfort in routine. Repetition is an artist's form of sanctuary in times of instability, distress and loneliness.

Asim Abu Shaqra, who never went beyond the borders of the country, was described by all as shy and sensitive, with a cynical humour bordering on sarcasm. Currently exhibited in cities around the world, his artworks expose his unique style and talents. He tragically passed away at the tender age of 28 years. Despite his identity contradictions and internal conflicts, Abu Shaqra remained faithful to his origins and was first and foremost a young Palestinian Arab individual in exile.

More from Modern & Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Art

View All
View All