Opening reception of “APPARTITIONS” - The Solo Art Exhibition By Mohamed Khalil
If black is the king of colors, as some would argue, then one can see how this color inflicts itself and delineates the abstracts as well as the figures of Mohamed Khalil’s repertoire. A student of German expressionism, the Palestinian visual artist, who hails from Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, deploys vivid blues, greens, yellows and violent blacks to depict his journey as a restless and stateless artist currently on his first visit to the United States. Color is form and form is color in the large expressionist abstracts that are currently on show at XOL Gallery in Baltimore. Themes of alienation at home, on the one hand, and migration to the four corners of the world, on the other, summarize the story of millions of Palestinians dreaming of a place they can call home. Jagged edges of paint, as if caused by explosions, splatter the space in his canvases in a stark, arresting and intense dialogue with the viewer. The colors strike you as “happy” at first, before a deep gloom sinks you into a different reality.
Mohamed Saleh Khalil completed his masters degree in 1988 at an art academy located in Dresden, Germany. After graduation, he headed back to Damascus, where he set up his first gallery show. After his exposition, he then made his way to Nicosia for work. During his 5 years there, Khalil was able to view and participate in several group exhibitions by Palestinian artists.
Through his experiences and gained art knowledge from Nicosia, he was able to develop his own art style, and therefore, set up several personal showcases. Upon the signing of the Oslo peace agreement in 1994, Khalil decided it was finally time to be in his homeland, Palestine.He completed a great number of Palestinian-inspired, abstract pieces. Since then, he has worked several art exhibitions in and outside of Palestine and won many awards. His most valued award is the Jury Prize from the 2000 Biennale of Alexandria.
Khalil still resides in Palestine, where he left teaching in the Department of Arts for the University of Jerusalem and founded the Young Artists Forum. Currently, he is also the art director of the Palestinian Ministry of Culture, and continues his attempt in developing the arts in the Palestinian society through his establishment, the Young Artists Forum.