Grotesque au poète - Photo Presse
Jerusalem - Al Ayyam sunday 1 june 2008
(original article in Arabic click here)

One artist uses press extracts to illustrate the Palestinian hardship.


The artist Véronique van Eetvelde utilises press extracts – a.o. from the Al Ayyam paper – to illustrate Jerusalem and the Palestinians. Her works of art were particularly appreciated by the local and foreign visitors, who admired them yesterday evening, in the framework of the Barakat exhibition at the American Colony Hotel.

Among the exhibited canvases, one could watch paintings depicting the separation Wall, the Nakba and the check-points, dimensions of today’s life Véronique discovered during her two years stay in Jerusalem.

“I include press extracts from Al Ayyam in my paintings, as those ones illustrate well the everyday life of the Palestinians in Jerusalem, Jericho, Gaza or elsewhere, - and in their language -. I also use quotations from the Bible, in canvases depicting the Holy Land. They are the backdrop on which I am painting”.

“I am using three main colours: yellow (representing the desert and the Jerusalem stone), terra di Sienna (the colour of the earth in many places, including in the Jordan Valley) and green (for the olive trees). On one occasion I used a dark blue in a canvas depicting the King Mages arriving in Bethlehem during the night and being stopped in front of the Wall”.

“The paintings depict various places in the Old City of Jerusalem and in Shuafat – where I am currently living – as well as the neighbourhoods of Beit Hanina and the Mount of Olives, or the Bedouins in the Jordan Valley”.

On those topics and her style of paintings, Véronique tells the following: “I live in Jerusalem since two years, coming from Rome – a very different setting and environment – where my topics where inspired by the many Italian artists from the past centuries. Arriving in Jerusalem, my first impressions were like a shock, in front of a situation which is very different from the one prevailing in Rome. From that experience I progressively adopted a different style and new topics. During the fist months I did not paint anything, I spent time discovering my new environment and a situation I found much more tragic than what I would have thought before coming. I am painting Palestinians, as I live with them in their everyday environment, in Shuafat. I was also very touched by their warm hospitality.”

“I have a Palestinian friend living in the same building. I was from time to time asking her to translate some articles in the local papers. She told me about the checkpoints, the colonisation process. As I also experiment this reality, I choose some of those articles as a backdrop for my paintings. The purpose is not to select some information to give a biased vision of the reality, but to depict the everyday life in all its dimensions, including the tragic  ones.”

“The organiser of the exhibition, Mr. Barakat, told me he was impressed and never saw this style of painting previously."

Véronique is very satisfied and happy from the Palestinian and foreign visitors’ comments and reactions.