From the grimness of Gaza to the vibrant East End: a new exhibition at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green is the latest project of Palestinian artist Mohamed Joha entitled “Joha the Journey”. Organized by Arts Canteen, it focuses on his long journey from the Gaza strip to the thriving London artistic environment. Joha relies on mixed techniques of collage, painting and photography to tell his stories.
Armed with his paintbrush, Mohamed Joha tries to destroy the blocks that stand between his fellow Palestinians and the rest of the world and raise awareness about the situation in Palestine. Following his 2011 exhibition called “Dreams in Black and White”, Omar Al Qattan, Chairman of the Palestinian Museum and Al Qattan Foundation, remembers his first encounter with the artist.
“He was a young boy from Gaza who was stuck between Norway and Italy, without proper documents,“ said Al Qattan. “However, he was still able to produce a passionate, careful, and profound work. I loved his work because of the emotion and love he puts in it. Five years later, I’m delighted to see him here exhibiting for the third time in London after overcoming many barriers that stood against him.”
Mohamed Joha showed once again a deep commitment to invest in topics concerning identity, diaspora, freedom and innocence. He asserts that he wants to convey a humanitarian message through his artworks, adding: “I invite people to discover and witness our life and struggles, and tell them that we, as Palestinians, are humans and we want to live our life like everybody in the world.”
He questions in “Joha the Journey” the displacements crisis and shares his personal and human experience as a Palestinian who fled his homeland and strived to create life opportunities for himself. Mohamed Joha’s inspiration is derived from having lived life under war conflicts, tireless endeavours and endless hope. He believes those are the ingredients for bringing his painting into existence.
Asser El Saqqa, the curator of the exhibition and founder director of Arts Canteen, said: “What we are witnessing tonight shows that arts as an expression has no borders. Joha’s reflection concerns us all because all human beings can experience those crises whether in Palestine, Honk-Kong, and South America. So this is what we are sharing altogether today in these beautiful colours.”
The exhibition is on until Friday February 26 and entry is free.