Waiting At the Threshold


In dealing with heritage, Al Muzain does not usually stop at recording heritage, but also works at benefiting from heritage, like several other Palestinian artists, through enriching his paintings with figures and icons. This is done by choosing historic symbols and motifs and combining them into elements that represent the modern reality to constitute together a comprehensive unity that will deepen the product’s ideological impact.

In such situations, Al Muzain works on moving from archival research to new artistic composition. In his painting “Waiting At the Threshold” (1977) which symbolizes Palestinian women, there is a girl sitting facing the audience, wearing folkloric clothing decorated with motifs that are symbolic of historic Palestine. The clothing is decorated with a number of known historic symbols and motifs including the eight-pointed star, the old symbol of star/flower worshipped by ancient Palestinians.

Afterwards, it played an important role in Arab ornamentation; in addition to a decorative motif that represents “the tree of life,” famous since the Bronze Age. One of the important symbolic elements in the painting is a necklace surrounding the girl’s neck, having the picture of Dagon; in addition to snake-shaped bracelets on her hand that represent ancient local icons.

The artist put a kaffiyeh scarf on the girl’s knees and placed men’s things on the background wall to assure the richness of heritage or to enrich the expressive power of the objects. The girl appears as a wife who is waiting for her fighter husband, or a generalization of Palestine looking with confidence for the future.

Source: "The Palestinian Poster", by Dr. Shafiq Radwan