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Heart/Homeless: Identity, home and exile

In her first solo exhibition in London, Heart/Homeless, Manal Deeb expands upon the themes of exile and identity that have infused her art practice from the beginning.

In her first solo exhibition in London, Heart/Homeless, Manal Deeb expands upon the themes of exile and identity that have infused her art practice from the beginning. Following in the footsteps of three seminal Palestinian women artists, from the early 1900s to the present, (Zulfa al-Sa'di , Juliana Seraphim and Mona Hatoum), Deeb treads new pathways by using her face as a template for artwork expressing the anguish of exile, the historical continuum of the feminine presence in that anguish, and the power of the female psyche in overcoming these obstacles.

In 'Hidden', she superimposes symbolic Arabic calligraphic forms over a tranquil image of her face. Using only abstractions of letters that do not form words, and enveloping them as a veil over the face, she creates a mystery of unspoken thoughts, while exposing the hidden strength she finds in the feminine and in her culture. This image is part of a series exploring the perceptions and misconceptions of Palestinian women, whose identities are overlaid with societal expectations and obstacles.

In 'New Palestine', she ventures into digital art, her arm raised in salute to the hope of a new world for Palestine, but also interpreted as a survivor rising from a sea of disappointments.

Deeb is a Palestinian-American artist born in Ramallah, Palestine. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia. Her education in both Studio Arts at the University of Illinois, Chicago and in the Psychology of Art at George Mason University support her artistic explorations of the psyche of the Arab female in exile.

Deeb has exhibited extensively in the United States and abroad, including New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Paris, Rome, Jerusalem, Delhi, Cairo, Amman, Doha, Islamabad, and Malaga.

Manal Deeb's solo London exhibition is running 5 April – 18 April at P21 Gallery.

READ: 'I wanted to introduce Palestinian culture to the UK'

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