“Cemented Sky” an exhibition by the young emerging Palestinian artist Yazan Abu Salameh that explores a geography with distant horizons and density of structures. A wall upon a wall and a concrete block over another, the melancholy of the urban environment, as a byproduct of military occupation, manifests in Abu Salameh’s artworks. They emit ambivalence of feelings, self reflection and irony combined with an overwhelming presence of concrete, not only as a form but also as a subject and metaphor.
Living in Bethlehem and encountering the Israeli Apartheid Wall, the endless concrete road blocks, watch towers, checkpoints…etc., have had an apparent effect on Abu Salameh’s artistic approach. The Israeli restriction have also pushed Palestinians to build vertically resulting in tall and dense concrete residential tower blocks, and an ever shrinking connection with nature and open spaces.
Abu Salameh uses a variety of mediums (paper, cement, lego blocks, cardboard… etc) yet in almost all of his artworks there is a kind of signature: a circular line. The circle acts sometimes as a magnifying glass, and some other times, it seems to stress on a detail or point to the focal point on the canvas, from the artist perspective; a sunflower partly colored, an egg in front of a rooster, a satellite dish on a roof of a partly constructed house, the last four men in a long queue walking aimlessly, a falling part of the Apartheid Wall, a skeleton of a swimming fish…etc.
In Cemented Sky, Abu Salameh uses Lego blocks and concrete in a series of artworks that draw on the contrast in color and textures, childhood or dreams and reality.
Here are some works from Palestinian artist Yazan Abu Salameh’s in ‘Cemented Sky,’ running at Zawyeh Gallery in Dubai from June 5 to August 21: