On the very day that Jerusalem came under Israeli occupation in 1967 "exile became a central reality in my life," recollects Kamal Boullata in the opening passages of the colossal volume that brings together the writings of celebrated Palestinian artist. Only 25 years of age, as Israeli occupation forces rolled into the Holy City, Boullate recalls how he had been declared an "outsider" in the place of his birth and dismissed as the "other" in his place of residence.
Though Boullata was barred from the city that had been the source of much of his artistic inspiration, his memories of childhood and the rich pattern and decoration he encountered in Jerusalem from the architecture of the Dome of the Rock, Christian churches to the embroidery of traditional Palestinian dresses continued to inspire his work, which have been elegantly compiled in the 2019 volume There Where You Are Not.
Edited by Dr Finbarr Barry Flood, the volume brings together the writings and paintings of the celebrated Palestinian artist who passed away last August, two months before the book's publication. Boullata's musings in philosophy, politics and the history of art produced over four decades of exile in Europe, North Africa and the United States, are wonderfully presented in the volume accompanied by hundreds of beautifully drawn paintings and photos.
This book is on the shortlist for the Palestine Book Awards 2020, please click here to read the full review on the Palestine book awards site.