Following the Six Day war in 1967, Israel made it a crime to raise a Palestinian flag — and the Israeli military forbade any visual material relating to it. It prohibited Palestinian artists from using even the colours of their flag: white, black, red and green. In 1980, Israeli forces arrested three artists at a gallery in Ramallah for violating this military order. To which artist Issam Badr responded: “Well if I paint a flower with these colours, what will you do?” And the officer responded: “It would be confiscated. Even if you do a watermelon it will be confiscated.” Then actually, the watermelon became a symbol of Palestinian resistance.
After the Oslo accords in 1993, the order was not completely revoked, neither has the Israeli occupation of Palestine ended. Artist Khaled Hourani borrowed from this officer the idea for the ‘Watermelon flag’, not to admire his ill imagination, but to commemorate the legacy of resistance to the prohibition of the Palestinian flag. Hourani originally made the design for the Subjective Atlas of Palestine in 2007, to then wave it at many exhibitions worldwide. During the 2021 Palestinian uprisings, the flag has been produced as an effective alternative flag, to wave until the occupation ends.
- Photo of watermelon mural taken at exhibition Khaled Hourani at CCA Glasgow, 2014. (Photo: Alan Dimmick). Photo series of watermelon paintings at retrospective exhibition by Khaled Hourani at Darat Al Funun, Amman, 2017.
- Khaled Hourani (PS)
Khaled Hourani is a Palestinian artist, curator, and art critic. He is the initiator of the project Picasso in Palestine. He attained a BA in History from Hebron University and was awarded the title of Cultural Management Trainer by Al Mawred Culture Resource and the European Cultural Foundation (Egypt). He has had several solo exhibitions locally and internationally and participates frequently in-group exhibitions. Hourani has curated and organized several exhibitions locally such as the young Artist of the Year Award for the years 2000 and 2002 for the A.M. Qattan Foundation. He was the curator of the Palestinian pavilion for Sao Paolo Biennale, Brazil and the 21st Alexandria Biennale, Egypt. He writes critically in the field of art and is an active member and founder of artistic and administrative boards in a number of cultural and art institutions. Hourani is was the Arts Director of the International Academy of Art Palestine and founded Disarming Design from Palestine with Annelys de Vet.
Size: 100 x 70cm
Material: 115gr., 100% recycled polyester
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