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Resistance Through Art: Sliman Mansour

Born in 1947 in Birzeit, situated north of the city of Ramallah in Palestine, just a year before the Nakba, renowned figure Sliman Mansour has paved his way to being distinguished as one of the most prominent Palestinian artists.

In his youth, Mansour was very much encouraged by his boarding school housemaster to start painting. After finishing school, he continued his studies at the Bezalel Art Academy in West Jerusalem in 1967, A year marked by the Six-Day War.

The advent of the first Intifada, in the 1987, gave rise to the “New Vision” movement. This initiative was formed by a cohort of Palestinian artists with the aim of contesting Israeli actions. A big number of Palestinians chose to boycott goods provided by Israel and the USA. The “New Vision” Palestinian artists did the same when it came to the rendering of their art, boycotting supplies provided from these same providers. Artists replaced Oil and acrylic paint to natural materials provided from Palestinian resources such as wood, mud, henna, self-made dyes. Mud was what Mansour was drawn to the most in his paintings of the time. Assemblages of artworks were gathered as an act of contest and resistance to the Israeli occupation.

The essence of Mansour’s art persists over the years, consistently denouncing the enduring challenges faced by the Palestinian people; challenges that have persisted for decades. His art serves as an open narrative expressing a yearning for liberation and providing a means for the Palestinian people to be seen.

This continues to be found in Sliman Mansour's highly distinctive artistic work, characterized by vivid portrayals of Palestinian landscapes, its people, their struggles intertwined with their long-lasting strength, resistance, and the overarching theme of identity. His paintings combine elements of Palestinian life, from villages and cities to the organic beauty of trees, peasants, workers in the fields, women, and depictions of love. In each piece, Mansour captures the essence of Palestinian identity through a rich interplay of symbols, colors and traditional patterns.

Central to many of his artworks are olive and orange trees, serving as profound symbols deeply rooted in the Palestinian identity and cause. These trees, filled with cultural significance, become powerful representations of the land and its people. Mansour's proficiency lies in his ability to infuse each stroke with beauty merged with the spirit of the Palestinian narrative, creating a visual resonance with the collective history, memory and liberation of the Palestinian people.

Sliman Mansour was a founding member of the League of Palestinian artists and of the International Academy of Art in Palestine. He currently resides in the West Bank, actively contributing to the local art scene as an illustrator author and instructor. Mansour has notably gathered many awards and distinctions throughout his career with artworks widely featured in solo exhibitions and hosted by numerous art institutions worldwide.

Prints of his artworks are available for purchase on his website:

Don’t hesitate to follow him on Instagram.

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