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Founder of contemporary Palestinian art wins Lifetime Achievement Award

29th Nov 2019
Founder of contemporary Palestinian art wins  Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr Swee Ang,  Co-Founder and Patron of British Charity Medical Aid for Palestinians awards Nabil Anani the Lifetime Achievement Award at the eightieth Palestine Book Awards (Credit: Middle East Monitor)

Elham Asaad Buaras

Founder of the contemporary Palestinian art movement, Nabil Anani, received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the eightieth Palestine Book Awards (PBA) held in London on November 1.

Nominations for the prestigious awards – hosted and sponsored by the Middle East Monitor (MEMO) – start every January with submissions from publishers across the world. A total of 43 English language books were entered in this year’s competition with seven having been shortlisted by a panel of expert judges.

Anani, 76, received the award for Nabil Anani: Palestine, Land and People homage to a distinguished Palestinian artist in addition to the collective memories of Palestinians and the Palestinian homeland.

After his graduations in 1969 from the faculty of Fine Arts at Alexandria University, Anani returned to Palestine to start his career as an artist and trainer at the UN training college in Ramallah. He held his first exhibition in Jerusalem in 1972 and has since exhibited widely in Europe, North America, the Middle East, North Africa and Japan.

He was appointed in 1998 as the head of the League of Palestinian Artists and was a key player to establish the first International Academy of Art international academy of Fine Art in Palestine. Anani was also awarded the first Palestinian National Prize for Visual Art in 1997 by Yasser Arafat the first President of the Palestinian National Authority.

“I want to thank everyone who supported this book, I want to thank MEMO for organising this night,” said Anani who was presented his award by Dr Swee Ang, Orthopaedic Consultant and co-Founder and Patron of British Charity Medical Aid for Palestinians.
“The book addresses how I began painting and drawing half a century ago,” said Anani.

Dr Hosam Zomlot, the Palestinian ambassador to the UK, awarded Andrew Ross for his book Stone Men: The Palestinians Who Built Israel which this year was named the Social History Award winner.

The book is a unique take on the Israeli occupation concerning Palestine’s stones and indigenous stone industry and the establishment of another country. Zomlot joked that the Palestinian Ambassador was giving an award to a non Palestinian who is working hard for Palestinian rights.

The evening was opened by PBA judge Alan Waddams, who thanked guests for attending an event that celebrated important contributions to Palestinian literature.

“One thing is clear, nothing gets better…anywhere, especially not in Palestine,” Waddams remarked, noting the developments over the past year, in particular, the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel against international law, in addition to the expanding illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank with continued killings, dispossession and injustice faced by the Palestinian people.

In spite of these setbacks, Waddams continued, “The Palestinians never give up as each year we are able to enjoy fresh insights in literature and academia, which in this current age of Trump and fake news, it is more important than ever to collect the truth and to keep up the Palestinian struggle.”

Palestinian American human rights attorney and winner of Academic Award, Noura Erakat gave the keynote address highlighting the vast movements ranging from Puerto Rico and Hawaii to Sudan, Lebanon, and Iraq. Moving onto the besieged Gaza Strip, Erakat reminded the audience that this week will be the 81st week of protests demanding the right to return for refugees and ultimately freedom.

Erakat won for her book Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine which explores the role of international law in the struggle for Palestinian national liberation.

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