Palestine from Cairo series: Of Elegies and Olive Trees

Amira Noshokaty , Tuesday 7 May 2024

Gaza’s phoenix nature is manifested in artist Miral Breebaart’s debut solo exhibition "Of Elegies and Olive Trees."

Miral Breebaart
From the opening night of exhibition, Of Elegies And Olive Trees. Photo: Artist Miral Breebaart.


The abstract exhibition, charged with emotions, was held at Hanager Art Centre, Cairo Opera House.

The paintings revealed an emotional sequence that starts with dark silhouettes wrestling with fumes against an orange sky.

Then, the orange colour suddenly falls into the fumes, followed by a connection between a divine light from above and a bright star created among the fumes.

After that, the fumes suddenly started to radiate brilliant colours symbolizing hope.

This was an epic artistic manifestation of the saying that Gaza is like a phoenix that always rises from the ashes of its previous life in full glory.




“I started working on this exhibition in December 2022. I started painting with black and white, until the seventh of October 2023 when I started introducing colours like grey, red, and yellow; and I started creating batches like short poems,” Breebaart explained to Ahram Online (AO).

“Here you will find lots of anger and roughness. I was arguing with the canvas. I was angry and crying, but I created beautiful things to show the world with no drama, not an ugly dramatic thing,” she added.

Although the Cairo-based, Egyptian-Palestinian-Dutch artist and painter started her artistic journey some ten years ago, she took her time surfing between different art styles and schools of painting, until she finally found her true self in December 2022.

“I started painting only in black and white, and that was when I found my true self. However, the burst of emotions came after October 2023. I did not expect that I would paint all these paintings. I thought I could create all such canvas,” she clarified.

Despite depicting all the pain, these paintings genuinely highlight the steadfastness of hope and life of a nation as legitimate and as old as olive trees. It is interesting how all that resilience and hope were easily detected in her work.

A specific painting in the exhibition resembled real-life scenery, depicting the exact emotion that the people of Gaza felt, as the online feedback of the Gaza audience showed.   

“Rather than depicting images of destruction and devastation, I sought to identify and translate my unsettled emotions through non-figurative painterly expressions. Abstraction of forms, lines, colours, and strokes come together to embody a dynamic tension between light and darkness; resonance and dissonance; ruptures and continuities: the co-existence of despair and resilience,” the artist said in her brochure.






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