Abeer Jebril, a Palestinian artist, portrays ballerinas in pain to raise awareness of the social and political difficulties of Gaza women amid conflict.
The beauty and elegance of ballerinas come together with dark colours of melancholy in what Abeer Jebril calls the ”ticking bomb” reality of women in Gaza.
“The reason I chose the ballet dancer is that I see her as an icon of beauty and power. Therefore, I chose her to become the hero of my works,” said the 35-year-old Palestinian artist, who comes from Gaza.
Jebril was influenced by Edgar Degas, a French Impressionist artist who is famous for drawing beautiful ballerinas.
However, in her paintings, she combines this beauty with sorrow as she draws ballerinas chained with barbed wires, dancing on rocks or facing barricades. In this regard, Jebril’s understanding of art comes from the reality of Gaza’s siege and countless checkpoints.
Because for her, this is metaphorically what the women of Gaza are going through amidst clashes and bombs in Palestine. They are elegant women chained with the ongoing regional Israel- Palestinian conflict.
“It shows what the woman feels, lives, faces and how she is chained, it shows what she feels in Gaza to the audience,” she said while explaining her ballerina paintings which were created by using palette knives.
Her paintings also give messages about women suffering from male dominance and restrictions towards them on having a say regarding issues that matter.
For the dance figures, Jebril gets inspiration from international ballet dancers and her 11-year-old daughter Maya, who is practising ballet dance.
So far, her portraits have been exhibited in several European and Arab countries’ galleries.
Here are some of her works of art that symbolises Gaza women through ballerinas.
In one of her paintings, Jibril draws a dancer who is in a dark navy blue suit, while her feet, arms and head are chained in sharp wires. She cannot dance freely and suffers from the wires that bind her. The red colour in some parts of her body seems to represent blood and wounds. She bleeds as she struggles to gain her freedom to dance.
Another painting demonstrates a ballerina’s wrist that has a green band, with a sign of ‘No entry’. In front of the ballerina, the portrait reveals two green figures that are standing shorter than herself, as if the soldiers are blocking the ballerina’s way. However, they are small and miserable compared to the ballerina’s magnificence and height. For Jebril, the portrayal is about the restrictions that prevent Gaza people from entering a safe place. According to her, ‘No entry’ sign shows the reality that the Gaza people face.
This one shows a woman in a ballerina costume escaping a bullet from the barrel of a gun while her eyes are tied with black tape. The woman responds to this brutal attack with a graceful stance typical of ballerinas and turns it into ballet choreography. The painting is about the relentless escape and struggles against the bullets where their shooting locations are unknown. It shows a blindfolded struggle for survival.
In this artwork, there is a little girl in a white ballerina costume as it represents her innocence. The little girl is crying while looking at the ruins, according to Jebril. The red and orange colours represent fire as they meet on the ground of the canvas while the sky’s blue colour is mixed with black smoke as if the painting stages a scene of a bomb attack or aftermath of conflict.
Source: TRT World