• Samah Shihadi Solo Terra (Un) firma , Opening 5th October - 30th November

    Samah Shihadi Solo Terra (Un) firma

    Opening 5th October - 30th November
  • About

    Haifa-based, Palestinian hyperrealist Samah Shihadi’s solo exhibition, Terra Un(firma), will premiere in line with the launch of the highly anticipated Cromwell Place exhibition concept in South Kensington, London. The body of work produced for Terra Un(firma) is divided into two segments, The Living and The Land, which take the artist’s personal narratives and feminist outlook as a starting point from which to explore issues faced by women, across cultures, in the contemporary moment. The Living is a reflection upon the artist’s complex and conflicting internal (psychological) and external (social) worlds. As a dual marginal existing within a liminal space Shihadi navigates the clashes between individuality and responsibility that comprise contemporary womanhood in her society and extend towards women, globally, who face discrimination, marginalisation, identity crisis and other multi-faceted gendered issues. The selected works for The Land turn towards the physical space and natural environment as a site of connection, displacement and contestation, which the artist conflates with notions of the home, family and collective identity. Each large-scale work selected for the exhibition has been painstakingly produced over several months. Shihadi’s work oscillates between classical-figurative realism, which dutifully captures and records that which surrounds her and fantastical surrealism that draws from the artist’s preoccupations with mysticism. Shihadi employs a dramatic approach to hyperrealism sketching using chiaroscuro to form a magical reality which blends both fiction and fantasy. Symbolism - religious, ritualistic, political, and cultural - is interwoven into much of Shihadi’s work, forming complex layers that the viewer must unpack in order to absorb deeper meanings. 

  • Studio Images:

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  • The Living

    Shihadi is preoccupied with the female experience, and the struggles spanning honour killing, marginalisation, social silencing, and acceptance, that women continue to confront, internationally. Her figurative works, often turning inwards, include self-portraiture as well as reflections upon the women in her inner circle. Beyond those that she encounters in her daily life, such as her mother and sister, the artist draws from art history and impactful feminist figures from the art world. Women artists such as Shirin Neshat, Frida Khalo and Georgia O’Keeffe are palpable influences who have, like Shihadi, been challenged by their social circumstances and have taken to art to synthesise and articulate their gendered experiences from a sublime space. These influences spill out into works such as The watcher (2020) that see a rooster, substituting Khalo’s monkey, and twisting a rope around the artist’s throat. The rooster serves as a representation of male dominance and the ongoing silencing of the female voice. Other works such as The Good Shepherd (2020) see the male depicted as a sheep in reference to the Middle Eastern adage which suggests a man that openly engages with a woman in equal dialogue is weak; pointing to the frustrations and limitations men also face in striving for equality. While art often turns away from religion, Shihadi, exists in an environment, where faith can never be far from the fore. She has been exposed to and absorbed by the multiple ideologies that surround her from Islam to Judaism and Christianity. Magic and mysticism also run through Shihadi’s work, apparent in icons derived from the zodiac and the practice of tarot card reading. The skull is regularly employed by the artist who is fixated upon both death and the divine. The icon recalls not only Georgia O’Keeffe but also the idea of a liminal space lodged between life and death and the sacrifice of women. The floating female form also recurs at regular intervals in Shihadi’s practice and alludes to the artist’s sense of inbetweenness. Through regular introspection, she questions her sense of self and status in a society that has challenging and complex expectations of her that throw up from multiple angles - cultural, moral, familial, social, and professional. 

    • Samah Shihadi, The Hierophant, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, The Hierophant, 2020
      £ 6,000.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Between life and death, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Between life and death, 2020
      £ 6,000.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, King of Pentacles, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, King of Pentacles, 2020
      £ 6,000.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Saint, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Saint, 2020
      £ 12,000.00
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  • The Land

    The landscape is a backdrop upon which the concerns of social groups play out and fall in and out of focus with shifts of power, in this sense Shihadi’s natural surroundings are of deep concern to her. Shihadi’s family were farmers before the dislocation from their village and this deep-rooted and powerful connection to the land is unleashed through rich symbolic elements. In a series of smaller 30x30 studies, the cactus or sabre is, for example, employed as a symbol of Palestinian resilience, indeed, Palestinians often refer to the plant as a marker of their ‘patience’ which they must practice in their daily lives. While in other works her country’s ubiquitous olives speak out to confirm the artist’s cultural identity. For Fig (2020), the artist continues to meditate upon religion and its moral restrictions, adopting the fig leaf as a metaphor from Christianity, which is widely known to convey the covering up of an act or object, perceived to be distasteful, with something innocuous in appearance. In the Christian book of Genesis, for example, Adam and Eve take the leaf to disguise their nudity after eating the forbidden fruit. The artist also zooms out of her social sphere in order to explore natural elements in relation to wider topics such as gender violence, censorship and the social policing of women. In Under Threat (2016) the pear, perched under a row of knives in the kitchen, embodies the female form and the proliferation of familial violence that Shihadi witnesses in honour killings that continue to plague societies across the Middle East and beyond.

    • Samah Shihadi, The Observer, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, The Observer, 2020
      £ 4,000.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, The Good Shepherd, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, The Good Shepherd, 2020
      £ 6,000.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Under the Threat, 2016
      Samah Shihadi, Under the Threat, 2016
      £ 2,000.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Harvest, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Harvest, 2020
      $ 8,000.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Sticks and Stones, 2018
      Samah Shihadi, Sticks and Stones, 2018
      $ 14,500.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Home, 2019
      Samah Shihadi, Home, 2019
      $ 12,000.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Leaf of Faith, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Leaf of Faith, 2020
      £ 3,000.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Patience (Sabre Series), 2019
      Samah Shihadi, Patience (Sabre Series), 2019
      $ 6,000.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Resilience (Sabre Series), 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Resilience (Sabre Series), 2020
      $ 8,000.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Hiding , 2018
      Samah Shihadi, Hiding , 2018
      $ 13,000.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Mother and Daughter, 2019
      Samah Shihadi, Mother and Daughter, 2019
      £ 6,000.00
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  • Case Studies

    Samah Shihadi’s series of Terra case studies are a reflection of the artist’s preoccupation with the natural environment as a tangible connection to her personal and collective heritage.
    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 1, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 1, 2020
      £ 600.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 10, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 10, 2020
      £ 600.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 11, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 11, 2020
      £ 600.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 12, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 12, 2020
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 13, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 13, 2020
      £ 600.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 14, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 14, 2020
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 15, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 15, 2020
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 16, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 16, 2020
      £ 600.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 16, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 16, 2020
      £ 600.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 16, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 16, 2020
      £ 600.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 17, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 17, 2020
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 18, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 18, 2020
      £ 600.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 19, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 19, 2020
      £ 600.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 2 , 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 2 , 2020
      £ 600.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 20, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 20, 2020
      £ 600.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 3, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 3, 2020
      £ 600.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 4, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 4, 2020
      £ 600.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 5, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 5, 2020
      £ 600.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 6, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 6, 2020
      £ 600.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 7, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 7, 2020
      £ 600.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 8, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 8, 2020
      £ 600.00
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    • Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 9, 2020
      Samah Shihadi, Terra Studies 9, 2020
      £ 600.00
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  • About Samah Shihadi

    About Samah Shihadi

    Shihadi (b. 1987) was born in the village of Sha’ab in the western Galilee and lives and works in Haifa. She has an M.F.A. from the University of Haifa, and a B.ED. in art from Oranim Academic College of Education. Shihadi, is among the modern generation of young female Palestinian artists and one of the unique voices in the local field of art. Through her chosen media of painting and drawing she scrutinizes issues pertaining to identity, her native traditional society and her political reality. In her work, Shihadi offers realistic insight and a feminist stance which address female identity in both Arab culture and the world at large. Her delicate drawings, made with great precision touch on topics central to contemporary art, and offer a pronouncement and visual report that fluctuates between the internal, personal, social and cultural. Her drawings, created in a slow, meticulous, and prolonged work process, also evoke a sense of urgency and immediacy regarding subjects in the here and now: the status of women in Arab society, tradition and religious belief versus social and political reality, and local landscapes charged with history.