Artists have been deeply involved in the grassroots uprising across the Middle East over the past months. In Cairo, where music and song built unity at Tahrir square as the Egyptian people challenged the dictatorial Mubarak regime, imagery of the revolutionary ideas that are driving the protests has been created, posted and remixed across the internet, imagery that will certainly inspire generations in the future.
In celebration of the profound artwork emerging from the Middle East at this time of struggle, we present Uprising, a collaborative work mixing painting and piano. Uprising is an attempt to both cherish and communitcate the libratory spirit of the contemporary protests across the region, a spirit that stands with the people on the streets and against the foreign intervention currently taking place in Libya that sounds horrible echos of colonial pasts.
Uprising is a mixed-media painting by Sundus Abdul Hadi in collaboration with her sister Tamara Abdul Hadi’s photography, in which her flying figures grace the work. Visuals go hand in hand with my piano composition. Uprising is inspired by the recent uprisings around the Middle East and aims to contribute to the growing body of incredible artistic reflections on the current revolutions happening across the region.
The youth of Tunisia and Egypt have moved the youth of Libya, Iraq, Palestine, Morocco, Algeria, Bahrain and other countries in the Middle East through the strength of people power, a deep hope for a better future, and an empowered sense of self and community. Today’s uprisings build on a long history of popular movements in the region in past centuries, from the uprisings that challenged European colonial rule, to the ongoing uprising against Israeli apartheid in occupied Palestine. Ultimately, this painting is a poetic rendering of Arab youth journeying into a brighter future, souls that have lost their lives in the fight for collective freedom taking flight, and the living struggling to make the impossible possible and ultimate deliverance … if not in reality, then perhaps in dreams. It is Up-rising, rising up.
Sundus Abdul Hadi is a Montreal-based Iraqi visual artist who has exhibited work internationally. She tweets as @sundusah. Stefan Christoff is a Montreal-based writer, community organizer and musician. He tweets as spirodon.