Arts charity Outside In need your help to bring the work of Palestinian artist Laila Kassab from Gaza to the UK.
Laila Kassab is a self-taught Palestinian artist based in Gaza who creates beautifully colourful artworks reflecting her life experiences. Alongside fellow artist Greg Bromley, Laila has been awarded a co-commission from Pallant House Gallery and Outside In, to exhibit her artwork in the UK.
“While a woman like me is denied the freedom to travel, my defiance is symbolised by having my paintings exiting Gaza.” – Laila Kassab
Laila Kassab is a self-taught artist, creating beautifully colourful artworks reflecting her life experiences. For Laila, her life in Gaza did not provide her with what she needed to pursue a career as an artist. She grew up in a poor family in inadequate living conditions and felt that the events surrounding her led her to she calls ‘a dismal life’.
It was through art that she was able to transform her sadness into creativity. Using charcoal to draw directly onto the walls of her home, she was able to express her feelings inside and turn unhappiness into hope for herself and those around her.
Based in the Yibna Refugee Camp in Rafah, in the South of the Gaza Strip, Laila became part of the Islington Friends of Yibna, a small London-based group aiming to forge links with Palestinians in Laila’s region. In 2010, the group received a bundle of paintings from Laila, smuggled out of Gaza covered with only thin layers of protective material made of food packaging.
The group have included Laila’s artwork in small exhibitions including “Who can sleep in Gaza?” (2014) and “Art under Siege” (2017) but felt that the scale of their exhibitions were not doing justice to her exceptional artistic talent and that her work needed to be seen by a much wider audience.
“Scottie and I share the urge to express our art in the face of a life of poverty, personal hardship and painful memories of war…I feel that I am expressing myself on behalf of all the Palestinians lacking freedom to express their repressed feelings and their rejected dreams, and who are being forbidden from being with their families and friends.” –Laila Kassab
What will your money go towards?
This year, Outside In and Pallant House Gallery offered an exciting opportunity for artists to submit proposals in response to the work of Outsider Artist Scottie Wilson. The selected artist was then commissioned to create artwork that will be exhibited at Pallant House Gallery alongside the work of Scottie Wilson that is held in the Gallery’s collection.
Due the quality of proposals, it was decided that two artists should be commissioned. Greg Bromley was initially selected but with your help, Laila Kassab’s work will be exhibited alongside Scottie Wilson’s at Pallant House Gallery, from 13 June to 29 July. Your money will go towards:
- Materials for Laila to create new work
- Shipping Laila’s art work to the UK from Gaza
- Framing Laila’s work ready for exhibition
“We are thrilled to be working with Pallant House Gallery on this important commission. It will become a significant and landmark opportunity for the artists Outside In supports. The commission enables our artists to produce new work and present it in a prestigious Gallery, and to develop their confidence and reputation in the process.” – Marc Steene, Director of Outside In