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Artist / Anisa Ashkar

Anisa Ashkar

b. 1979, Acre; lives and works in Acre and Tel Aviv-Jaffa.

Anisa Ashkar is a multidisciplinary artist, engaged in painting, photography, installation, and performance. Her work is primarily centered on issues pertaining to identity, social criticism, and gender. She stages situations directly related to changes in the socio-political atmosphere, drawn from her own biography, which present an opportunity to develop a discussion around the society in which we live. According to Ashkar, "As an artist, I try to challenge the way we—women, Arabs, artists—experience our personal and professional existence. These points of departure allow me to use art to explore the specific ways in which the definition of femininity was shaped in different societies around the world, as well as the ways in which feminine themes and materials connect to sacred rituals and practices in religion, culture, social institutions, and the system of beliefs and myths of all mankind."

At the age of nine, Ashkar began studying traditional Arabic calligraphy, a skill considered a masculine tradition in Islam. Over the years, she developed personal writing styles that are not subject to the traditional rules. "In my works, I also raise questions related to the essence of art itself and the lines between the work and the artist, while using my body and face as a canvas, which I decorate with Arabic calligraphy, as a symbol of folk and social customs in the Arab tradition." In the past twenty years, Ashkar has extended this practice to the real world as well, and in a continuous performance she adorns her face every morning with calligraphy, thus marking herself, her identity and culture for all to see, in a clear and unambiguous way.

Ashkar's painting on the truck brings artist Jackson Pollock's question to the fore: is the artist nature? Ashkar pays tribute to five great masters, who accompany her and were sources of inspiration in her creative path: Van Gogh's sunflowers, color and form in tribute to Joan Miró, flattening and duplication a-la Andy Warhol, Yves Klein's blue, alongside painting by way of splattering and pouring the paint, in Pollock's style (and also due to the conditions of painting on a standing truck). According to Ashkar, "for me, Van Gogh symbolizes the freedom to choose a life of creation, as a stormy, expressive self-articulation of feelings and emotions." The sunflower, the flower that worships the sun, when fused with Ashkar's gold and the color blue, represent water and life, in a masculine style that bends in favor of pure beauty, purity and femininity. Very subtly, between the dramas of nature and life, Ashkar leaves her imprint and hallmark on her work with a delicate painting of her profile bearing her calligraphic signature, as she does on her face with makeup changed daily, along a continuous journey.


Ashkar sends her paintings to the country's roads on the truck, in a burst of emotion alongside infinite delicacy, thus proposing an answer to Pollock that perhaps the artist is indeed nature.

Holds a B.Ed.F.A. from the Midrasha School of Art, Beit Berl Academic College, Israel (2001–04). Her works have been presented in numerous exhibitions in Israel and overseas. Her solo shows include: "Barbur Aswad" (Black Swan), Hagar Art Gallery, Jaffa (2003); "In a Twinkling of an Eye," Space Art Track 7, Athens (2007); "Zift," N&N Aman Gallery, Tel Aviv (2010); "Golden Surface," Walled Off Hotel Gallery, Bethlehem (2017); "Black Gold," The Museum of Islamic and Near Eastern Cultures, Be'er Sheva, Israel (2017), "Measures of Love – the 2020 Ann & Ari Rosenblatt Prize for Visual Art in Israel Exhibition," The Artists' House, Tel Aviv (2021). Participated in artist residency programs in Greece, Germany, Spain, Poland, and France. Received an artistic excellence award from the Midrasha School of Art, Beit Berel Academic College (2004); the Young Artist Award from the Israeli Ministry of Education and Culture (2007); the Ministry of Culture and Sports Prize for the Arts (2015); Landau Prize for Arts and Sciences (2016); and the Ann & Ari Rosenblatt Prize for Visual Art in Israel (2020). Lectures on art, educates the next generation, and is active in the community in many fields.

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