The reason why I really like Ayed’s art work, is that I KNOW there is a STORY behind each painting, installation or sculpture. The story is usually two fold. It teaches you something about the Palestinian society and the times we live in, but it is also a window to Ayed’s soul. Even for Ayed himself his art work helps him to discover who he really is and who he wants to be within the context of the Palestinian society and the reality of life under military occupation.
Ayed Arafah is a Palestinian artist who grew up in Deheisheh refugee camp. When his school teacher collected his drawings and made a small exhibition and wrote ‘the artist Ayed’ on the drawings, Ayed felt very proud and he knew that he wanted to be an artist.
He studied art at the National Art Academy of Ramallah that became part of the Birzeit university and he worked on an installation called ‘sea package’. As Palestinians do not have access to the sea due to the Israeli military restrictions, he decided to bring the sea to the Palestinians by collecting bottles of sea water from all over the world. He displayed the bottles and the sea water in a big plastic bag, resembling the bags of water in which fish are sold as pets.
Ayed worked on several series of paintings that reflect his search for who he is and who he is expected to be within the Palestinan society and within the context of military occupation.
During this episode we walk from his studio to Singer Cafe in Beit Sahour to look at his new series: Women always pick cactuses. He made this series during the Covid-19 lock down that lasted for three months. Cactus in Arabic is ‘saber’ and that word also means ‘patience’ or ‘resilience’. Ayed realized during the lock down that women in his society very often spend most of their time at home and that they are always patient and resilient.
From Singer Cafe we continued to Al Jisser bar in Beit Sahour where he has an installation set up on the stage. The yellow gallons that are used for olive oil and water storage are set up like the Newton pendulum. Ayed is intrigued by the idea of moving objects while you as the audience are standing still. He is hoping that when the Corona crisis is over they can perform music shows based on the movement of the pendulum.
If you want to see more of Ayed’s work you can follow him on Instagram @ayedarafah