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Selected Critiques 

Manal Deeb:  Palestinian artist who paints life. (by: Hayat Washington)

Bringing ‘metaphors’ to its gallery, al markhiya is putting up a showcase of multi-talented Palestinian-American artist Manal Deeb’s artwork at Katara Art Centre (KAC) this week.
The exhibition of Deeb’s artworks presents visual metaphors for identity. Each of the exhibited artworks is a visual representation of a poem. “Metaphors” of written words became visual metaphors of memories.
It will showcase Manal’s use of mixed media and layering techniques, which became an imperative way for her in emphasising creativity in reflecting on a continuous conversation with life. For her, art became a way of responding to life’s changes and challenges.
Manal used creation of art as a way to complete, identify and express her journey as an Arab American female living away from home, a daughter, a mother and an artist. (by: 
Umer Nangiana)

Visual artist Manal Deeb uses her Palestinian heritage as a basis for her artwork - uncovering the many struggles of Palestinians while integrating Arabic calligraphy to sho the influence culture and religion has on their lives. (by: The Arab American News)

The three digital artworks by Ma­nal Deeb, a Palestinian-American, represent dreams of a reunion with the family and the beloved ones in the homeland. Digital collages are intricately layered with forms and digital textures to suggest original­ity, homeland and belonging. 

“The content and narrative be­hind each piece construct a visual metaphor of how Palestinians from generation to generation overlaid their lives and circumstances,” Deeb explained. (by: The Arab Weekly)

Manal’s success has not come without struggle. Navigating her Muslim, Palestinian and female identities, has come with its own set of challenges. As an Arab-American, her messages will continue to be superficially politicized and obscured, as long as “terrorism,” “violence” and “instability” remain buzzwords for the region. In the face of such adversities, Manal resorts to the paintbrush. She has found an ideal medium to fight the stereotypes that misconstrue her art and her character. When facing the blank canvas, Manal digs deeply into her subconscious – an attempt to make sense of troubling emotions and memories that have lingered with her for years. Her art rewards her tranquility, and us with the sense of resilience we need to unapologetically embrace our identities. (by: Lina Najem)

Before Manal Deeb touches a canvas, she spends hours, sometimes weeks, reading Arabic and Sufi poetry to reach deep within her soul, to call upon her Palestinian identity. Viewers of all backgrounds respond to her earthy palate, the photos of faces, and the shapes of Arabic letters. When the glue dries, and the chalky acrylics melt over the portraits and burst in patches to reveal layers and light, the result is a poetic and visual collage.(by: Mary Sebold)

As I hung up the phone I began to picture Manal as a young girl with a Palestinian flag draped around her shoulders, marching and chanting in the streets. In her eyes there is a fire. Then I saw her as a mother, a wife, an artist and activist. An adult now the fire has moved from her eyes to her heart and through her hands. She is creating art that has meaning and purpose. Art for all people, of all nations and all creeds. Art that crosses all languages, art that has the ability to give hope to those who struggle and fight for respect, to be recognized, to be free from oppression. 
In her art Manal Deeb brings to life the all to real circumstance of power left unchecked and unrestrained. As my pen came to rest and Manal's final words faded out of my mind, the meaning of them struck me. I realized then, just how important people like her are, especially in the world as it is today. Manal Deeb doesn't need to change everything about the world, she just want to change your mind.(by: Joseph Spencer)

Palestinian females can be marred by occupation, family traditions, and being seen as subordinate to men.  These elements create psychological complexities and challenges for Palestinian women to thrive and flourish. The DEFACED yet ALLURING exhibit is an attempt by artist Manal Deeb to show the strength of Palestinian women in facing such obstacles, which simply represent disfigurement to the surface and not to the core “self”.  Throughout the generations, Palestinian women’s strength and power have driven them to great achievements, respect and recognition. This digital artwork reflects a mix of self-pride, emotional power and positive psychology carried by Palestinian women regardless of the surface scars and controls imposed on their social, political, and intellectual freedom. (by: Gallery Al-Quds)

Deeb’s creative process is reflective of her artistic temperament, and demonstrates her commitment to making truly inspired work. She works on two to three pieces at a time, and keeps them in her living space. She walks by them, adding a detail here or there, allows the pieces to speak to her, and allows them to speak to each other in what she describes as a dialogue. The results are unknown to her until the very end, she explains, and she credits the unique beauty of her art to the spontaneous nature of this process. (by: Karmah Elmusa)

Collaging images, graphics, paint and even tree bark onto her highly textured surfaces, Deeb's paintings are layered like peeling posters on the walls of recollection. In some cases, words from the Qur'an are incorporated to capture the wisdom and power of the verses and to communicate their imaginative energy. Each painting follows a narrative arc in the rhythm of the brushstrokes and the overlaid elements, telling a story about how memories become reality, and how to preserve heritage through art. Pieces of tree bark evoke her childhood games around the almond and fig trees of her homeland. All the incorporated materials become sacred talismans in the narrative of identity. (by: Dagmar Painter)

Deeb’s paintings speak to her Palestinian heritage across time and place, addressing issues of identity and memory. Through a trancelike blur of white, like a snowstorm or a dream, works like "Delirious in Exile" reveal swirling colors, snatches of sacred verses from the Quran and stylized eyes. Other works incorporate bits of bark, burlap, traditional Palestinian embroidery and Arabic calligraphy rendered sharp, like thorns, and offer shadowy glimpses of the faces of refugees and Jerusalem’s golden Dome of the Rock. 
Part dream, part memory, part mourning, part longing, the paintings also address the issues of survival and authenticity in a new culture. In her artist’s statement, Deeb asks: "What does it take for a person to persist from one time to another, that is, for the same person to be real at all the times?" 
In a striking self-portrait, "From There," Deeb appears partially obscured by a screen of white paint. Though eyes without faces are a recurring motif in her other works, in this portrait Deeb offers her face without eyes, without a window into her soul. It strikes a precarious balance; the exact point at which one cannot tell if her face is being obscured or revealed. But given the jut of her chin and the smile on her lips, I like to think it is the latter, and that she will emerge, unfragmented, into the light. 
Memories, dreams, reality: She is from there, and it is hers. (by: Lucy Chumbley)

Artist Manal Deeb presents a twist to modern art through her combination of digital art and calligraphy. Her art not only portrays the barriers and endless struggles Palestinians experience on a daily basis, but also addresses other social issues. One can say that her art echoes the voice of the people. She shakes the walls and the stiff shackles that society imposes on minorities and gender roles. Her use of calligraphy allows her to incorporate culture, language, and religion and their impact on society. 
As an artist, Manal Deeb believes in no limits on self expression. She also strongly believes in liberating women and empowering them to touch and reflect aspects that challenge social taboos and misconceptions. Being a Palestinian-American woman, Manal’s art empowers the “Other” by preserving aspects of the replica watches sale culture and experience in a modern and effective way. Palestinian women in Manal’s art deconstruct the stereotype of being silenced by both the dominating Western power and masculine authorities they encounter throughout life. Each woman is left to tell a story of her own. (by: Ahlam Abdul-Rahman)

On entering the gallery, the viewer encounters a set of beautifully-captured photographs of Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock, relaying a sense of sacredness and sanctity of the holy city, and another set of eye-catching Jerusalem-themed digital productions on the opposite wall. One digital art piece by Manal Deeb capturing refugee memory seemed to attract the attention of the viewers with its “very exact” superimposition. “It’s not melodramatic,” Andy Simons, a retired book curator at the British Library, told MEMO, “it’s just very honest, seeing what the subject is thinking through the other image within it.” (by: Jehan Alfarra)

Manal Deeb An Artistic Woman of Many Colors - Her brush strokes paint a story from time and culture some reflecting her Palestinian heritage, others expressing her identity. From photographs, digital art, calligraphy and fabric patterns on her face; her art work blends realism with abstract tantalizing the viewer’s imagination. (by: Arab Woman Magazine)

Importantly, this issue of Mashriq & Mahjar features the work of Palestinian American artist, Manal Deeb. Born in Ramallah, Deeb came to the U.S. as a student of art, but even in her departure from Palestine, she continued to carry the marks of having lived under occupation for almost two decades. These questions of displacement, identity, and memory pervade her paintings and capture the productive, if dystopic, relationship between exile and Palestinian consciousness, the title of her virtual exhibit. Especially given the specific spatial framework that emerges in the five research articles, Deeb’s contribution reveals that Middle Eastern movement is not limited to the far- flung networks that sojourners cultivate, but also involves what Edward Said called the “unhealeable rift” between “the self and its true home.” (by: Andrew Arsan, John Karam & Akram Khater)

Manal tells me that she has an "uncontrollable urge to paint portraits," driven by a desire to capture the human spirit; parts of which she insists cannot be reached through any other medium. Using self-portrait, she explains, she is always searching for who she is at that particular time in her life, her place in the world, an existential journey in exile. (by: Amelia Smith)

Manal Deeb’s own countenance appears in nearly all of her artwork in “Defaced Yet Alluring,” but it’s hard to distinguish it. The Palestinian-bred Fairfax artist superimposes photographs, calligraphy and fabric patterns on her face, constructing a visual metaphor for how women’s identities are overlaid with societal expectations and political circumstances. Most of the 18 breitling replica sale pieces at the Jerusalem Fund Gallery Al-Quds are computer-generated collages, but Deeb also is showing five paintings that blend realism and abstraction. Imagery derived from the paintings also is an element in the digital collages, which are intricately layered with forms and textures to suggest the land of her birth: bark, earth, branches. All these and more, Deeb suggests, create her self. (by: Mark Jenkins)

Manal Deeb, the Palestinian-American from Virginia, with her abstract and almost surreal digital compositions, shows a different view of her homeland, soft and dream-like, yet with a sharp longing no less distinct than the three Jerusalem photographers. These riveting images provide an internal, or should I say spiritual, view of Jerusalem, letting the viewer look into the artist’s yearning from without. (by: Kelise)

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