Areej Lawen, a young Palestinian artist, pounds olives to create a portrait

Olives are used as a paintbrush by Areej Lawen, a young Palestinian artist from Nazareth, to paint her art works over a piece of cloth.

Last month, Areej opened her exhibition at Hotel Oasis in Jericho, in the West Bank. There a video showed images of her painting technique consisting of pressing olives with a small wooden hammer.

During the opening ceremony of her exhibition, the young artist said she decided  to paint using olives as a symbol of the “identity, of the belongings and the steadfastness” of Palestinian people.


Areej Lawen

The idea came when she decided to use olives to paint an olive tree, but then she thought to press olives to paint new subjects, often personalities of Palestine with a link to the olive tree, like Yasser Arafat who, during a UN General Assembly said: “I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun,” or Tawfik Ziad and Mahmud Darwish, Palestinian poets whose words were quoted by Areej during the opening conference.

Areej said her aim is to express her artistic ideas using the olive as a tool and as a symbol of peace — to create art works that send a message from a land that has rarely known peace.

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