Hyperrealist artist Adam Shehada, born in Gaza, is appealing for funds for a UK tour for his exhibition Inextinguishable Suns. Shehada adopted a hyperrealistic style for his pencil drawings in Summer 2015 as a means to authentically capture and represent the violence he was surrounded by in Gaza. Following a successful exhibition in the French Institute in Gaza, Shehada has received invitations to exhibit at the House of Commons and elsewhere in the UK and is fundraising to cover the expenses of the tour, planned for Spring 2019.
The 26-year-old says, “I consider engaging in art to be my duty as a human being who lives every day under unbearable hardship and endures severe power—and water-rationing, a poor economic situation, and assaults and wars. Since birth I have suffered from all sorts of traumatization, and I have always been certain that one day these factors would be reflected in my art.” He continues: “Art is more than a fun activity or a way to distract, art is also a tool by which you can make a massive difference all around the globe.”
Shehada’s graphite and charcoal portraits provide glimpses into the everyday life of Palestinian citizens, highlighting the reality of the devastating consequences on citizens of conflict and deprivation.
Little Mothers, 2017, was according to Shehada inspired by a photograph taken by his friend Mohammed Al Haijar. The unnamed young girl in the charcoal drawing is visibly transplanted into the role of a mother for her younger sibling, following the loss of both her parents, and the loss of her childhood inspired the title Little Mothers.
In social media posts, Shehada narrates the hardships of his upbringing in Gaza, “I have always wanted to keep creating pieces that you would enjoy but living through an on-going pain and stress caused by war threats, bombings, continuous killing of Gazans, escaping from danger places to safer ones, having only four hours of power daily… despite all of this I feel blessed and thankful for God’s blessings.”
He says of his artwork: “I have always admired the artwork of the leading hyperrealism artists internationally, and as hyperrealism is relatively new in Gaza the only way for me to develop my skills was to look closely at the detail in the artworks of artists such as Kelvin Okafor, Paul Cadden, Gotfried Henlwen and Samantha Messias, and through a process of trial and error I tried to recapture their methods. Over the years I have developed a friendship with these artists, who have kindly offered support and advice with regards to how to develop my talents.”
Shehada’s Indiegogo fundraising campaign, which included the opportunity to buy sketches, portraits and hyperrealistic images, closed without reaching its goals, but efforts to bring his work to the UK continue via his website.