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Using hyperrealism to bring Gaza back to life 

Palestinian Adam Shehata works with pencils to make almost lifelike portraits in black and white

Adam Shehata spends hundreds of hours working with pencils to make almost lifelike portraits in black and white because not only does he like the colours, it relaxes him.

The 28-year-old, who lives in the besieged Gaza Strip, began drawing when he was very young. A son of a painter, Adam “enjoyed cartoon drawings because like any young child I enjoyed watching cartoons. It was a great experience and I trained alone, no one taught me. I kept going until I reached an advanced level and I decided to enter the technique of drawing known as hyperrealism.”

“I entered this field straight after university when I saw portraits which were very difficult and beautiful and they attracted me, I was shocked by the ability of the artists that drew them with this great detail, making their pieces so real only using a simple pencil.”

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Now Adam spends over 100 hours on a single artwork, “some take 180-200 hours of work”, he explains.

“I began drawing using pencils because my experience with pencils goes back a long time and I personally like the colours black and white and I feel very relaxed using pencils and charcoal.”

Adam’s paintings vary in his small studio covering national themes, Palestinian heritage, the occupation’s violations and the faces of figures of symbolic value, but they are all characterised by their extreme accuracy and embodiment of the soul of each of his subjects.

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