Bethlehem, Palestine—On Thursday, September 14th, 2017, Bethlehem Museum, in cooperation with the Arab Women’s Union, Bethlehem (AWU) and the Palestinian Ministry of Culture, welcomed visitors from around Palestine to the opening of its newest contemporary art exhibition entitled, “Engraved in Memory.” The exhibit features the artwork of acclaimed Beit Jala artist, Mr. Khalil George Saadeh (b. 1950), displaying close to two dozen sculptures made from olivewood, stone and bronze, the largest of which weighed in at 190 kilograms!
The sculptures combine Palestine’s rich tradition of olivewood and stone carving with a contemporary edge that engages the viewer in life’s big questions. Themes surrounding the ambiguity of birth, life, death, and spirituality are treated with loving nuance yet biting intimacy, encouraging viewers to interrogate the beauty and bitterness of the everyday. With a career spanning nearly five decades, Mr. Saadeh’s work is both technically flawless and creatively brilliant, offering visitors a thrilling journey into hauntingly familiar territory. The exhibit will challenge everything you thought you knew about Palestinian sculpture and design.
After a personal tour of Mr. Saadeh’s collection, His Excellency, Dr. Ihab Bseiso, Minister of Culture, commented: “This exhibition confirms that creativity is always in Palestine, despite the problems and challenges faced.” He continued, “Bethlehem Museum is a great institution that embraces and makes known our national treasures…We, at the Ministry, are eager to continue working with Bethlehem Museum to further develop and showcase the creativity of our people.”
Amidst the buzz of journalists, Mr. Saadeh also had an encouraging message for his fellow Palestinians: “Entire nations can be measured by the art they produce—art is a message. My message to all is to take time to savor art, to enjoy it even if it’s as simple as regarding a beautiful flower.”
Bethlehem Museum is especially grateful to Mr. Hisham Abulaban, CEO of Abu Laban for General Trading Co. “Nestle Waters,” for his generous support of the exhibition.
“Engraved in Memory” is on view to the general public daily until Thursday, September 21st, 2017. Bethlehem Museum is located on Jerusalem-Hebron Road opposite Jacir Palace. To learn about upcoming events, follow us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/beth.museum/