Rafat Asad

'I am the son of the village
The son of its plants, its soil
Its running spring
Its sea and stone.'

Visual Artist


Rafat Asad is a Palestinian artist born in Nablus in 1974. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from Al Najah University in 1998, with a focus on painting. Although a painter first and foremost, Asad is a multi-disciplinary artist, who produces light and sound installations, as well as video art and performances. Taking abstract painting as his point of departure, his work has evolved to focus on the Palestinian landscape through a minimalist style. Asad is also the co-founder and artistic director of Al-Mahatta Gallery, chair of the board of directors of the Balata Cultural Forum and a member of the Palestinian Artists’ League. He currently lives and works in Ramallah.
For Rafat Assad, landscape is his main source of inspiration. He works by memorising visual imagery, charging his memory with hundreds of views that he later uses for his art projects and paintings: “I paint what I see, I paint what I know”. The process of painting becomes an emotional act of reminiscence, where he constantly returns to the places he gazed.
Rafat’s artistic process is also politically charged. As a Palestinian artist, he understands the symbolic weight that landscape carries: “Because of the many concrete and metal barriers that prevent visual communication or physical access, Palestinians tend to be disconnected from their environmental and natural surroundings.” Rafat then utilises his personal experiences and knowledge to work, research and create images that speak of the surroundings in which he lives and exists. Through a visual exploration, he presents nature in Palestine in its problematic and realistic form, examining the way in which humans, and the occupation in particular, affect the landscape through exploitation and tampering.


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