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Profile of Kamal Boullata
Kamal Boullata is a painter and writer. The correspondence between visual and verbal expression has been a central subject in his work. Verses from biblical, Islamic or contemporary poetry were once integrated in his art. His handcrafted artist´s books represented a further expression of the fusion between word and image.
Born in Jerusalem in 1942, Boullata´s geometric abstract acrylics, silkscreens and artist´s books were exhibited in solo shows at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, Musée du Château Dufresne, Montreal, Patronato de la Alhambra, Granada, National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman. His work was also included in group shows at the British Museum, London, the Bibliothèque Nationale, and the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris.
A Fulbright fellow, Boullata published studies on contemporary Arab art, the structural affinities between Arabic grammar and the arabesque and the cultural perception of color through its linguistic expression. With a Ford Foundation grant he conducted field research on post-Byzantine painting in Palestine. His pioneering studies on Palestinian art appeared in books and academic journals. Boullata is the author of Faithful Witnesses: Palestinian Children Recreate Their World (1990) and Recovery of Place: A Study of Contemporary Palestinian Art (in Arabic, 2000). With a particular interest in poetry, which he often interpreted in drawings, he translated and edited in 1978 Women of the Fertile Crescent, the first anthology of Arab women's poetry. At present, he is co-editing with Kathy Engel, We Begin Here, an anthology of poetry by American poets opposing the war waged against the people of Palestine and Lebanon.