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Suleiman Mansour (Palestinian, b. 1947)
PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, UK
Suleiman Mansour (Palestinian, b. 1947)

And the Convoy Keeps Going

Details
Suleiman Mansour (Palestinian, b. 1947)
And the Convoy Keeps Going
signed in Arabic; signed and dated 'S.Mansour 16' (lower right)
oil and acrylic on canvas
50 7/8 x 64 1/3 in. (129.5 x 163.4cm.)
Painted in 2016
Provenance
Walled Off Hotel Gallery, Bethlehem, by whom acquired directly from the artist.

Lot Essay


Suleiman Mansour is a pioneer of Palestinian modern art and is one of the most masterful and distinguished Arab artists working today. Exhibited as part of Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel Gallery in Bethlehem, the present work And the Convoy Keeps Going is highly symbolic for its representation of the current and historical identity of the Palestinian people. Since the early 1970s, Suleiman Mansour has been a champion and pioneer of the Palestinian artistic movement that has continuously pushed against the challenges and burdens that the Palestinian community has faced, inviting the viewer to feel their burden and struggles and perseverance for education and creativity.

The cultural concept of ‘sumud’, or steadfast perseverance was one that emerged from the constant oppression of the Palestinian people. Christie's broke the record for the artist in March 2015, selling Jamal Al Mahamel III (The Camel/Carrier of Hardships III), as the work similarly depicts this sense of stuggle and determination. In the present work located within this beach scene, there is a stark contrast between the foreground and background; people are lounging on the beach, enjoying the day while three distinct individuals in the foreground appear resolute and determined, on a mission. These three figures each hold an emblem of the Palestinian society, the central closest to us is a woman. One holds a gun, which stands for the protection of the people, another holds a book and key, representing grounded territory, and the third holds two pens, which symbolizes education. Above them floats a brightly lit dove which carries them forward through peace. They guard the civilians in the background, who are experiencing a joyful and colorful day at the beach.

It is clear upon closer inspection of the work that Mansour's influences is also linked to the Russian Socialist art of the time. Equally statuesque in their portrayal of central figures, works in this style employed visual tools which are evident in this work, although Mansour had adopted these techniques to create a distinct style of his own. There are simultaneously very strong underlying references to the Socialist paintings and murals of Mexican artist Diego Rivera, who used a similar iconography to express stark contrasts in society. Mansour often speaks of Rivera and the Mexican Muralist's impact on his work.

Mansour has contributed greatly the fine arts development of the West Bank, with his distinctive oeuvre highlighting the hardships of Palestinians and their day-to-day lives. In the first Intifada against Israeli occupation, he was part of the “New Vision” group that protested the occupation through using natural mediums such as mud and henna to create various earthworks. Also, whilst working as a successful author, Mansour’s works had been exhibited globally in the US, Japan and across Europe.

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