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Suzan Hijab

Retrospective Exhibition 

Ramallah: 18 January - 2 April 2020

A. M. Qattan Foundation

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 The exhibition charts the career of Suzan Hijab in the last four decades, focusing primarily on her work with oil pastels on paper. The exhibition brings together more than 50 artworks from the early 80s after her return from Beirut to Frankfurt, up until the present day.


“All my work is about departure. It is the state in which we are in. A state of instability, of constant leaving. Leaving towards something that is better, towards progress”[1].


Departure represents an essential element in Suzan Hijab´s life and work, both in the sense of physical relocation, of exodus, and of emotional, interior shifts.


Hijab was born in Jaffa, Palestine, in 1942. During the Nakba her family moved to Alexandria, Egypt. She left Egypt at the age of nineteen, to accomplish her art studies at the Higher Academy of Fine Arts in Offenbach, Germany. She has been living in Frankfurt since, leaving to Beirut for a few years in the 70s.




The main corpus of Suzan Hijab´s work is represented by the Paternoster series (1986-95). Paternoster is the mechanism that allows an elevator´s cabin to slide through the structure in which it is contained, creating a circular, uninterrupted movement. Reflecting this structure, her big-format paintings are subdivided into sections by vertical and horizontal lines, each enclosing a fragment of the artist´s interior world. The scenes slide into one another creating a circular story, a fluid movement without beginning nor end. Hijab views the paternoster as a mechanism of departure that allows for continuous change. It symbolizes a movement upwards, a movement towards God. Within a single composition, each new frame is open to an infinite set of possibilities, a path towards both self-knowledge and knowledge of God.

[1] All Hijab´s quotes are taken from an interview with the artist conducted by Jack Persekian on June 1, 2019 in Frankfurt, Germany.


Supported by the European Union as part of Jerusalem Nights and the A.M Qattan Foundation through the ‘Visual Arts: A Flourishing Field’ Project

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