Home Life Style UAE artist explores her heritage through artistry, creating works inspired by Palestine in a quest to connect with her roots.

UAE artist explores her heritage through artistry, creating works inspired by Palestine in a quest to connect with her roots.

Lynne Abdulhadi's quest to reconnect with her heritage inspired the inception of 'Painting For Palestine,' a creative endeavor aimed at fostering healing and reclaiming cultural identity.

by Soofiya

In November, Lynne Abdulhadi embarked on her inaugural journey to Palestine, a land that had existed as a concept in her mind until then. The experience of being in the country, breathing its air, and observing her people evoked a profound nostalgia for something she had only heard about in her childhood but had never truly experienced. Her first stop was a beach, a seemingly familiar setting that held a unique significance in her homeland. “I arrived at 3 in the afternoon and only left by 6 pm,” recounts the UAE-based artist.

As Lynne delved into her roots, she sought the coordinates of her mother’s village in Haifa, navigating through three modes of transportation to reach the now-demolished village. Despite its destruction, she located her great grandfather’s grave, who had served as the village’s mukhtar (leader). Lynne’s connection to the narrative intensified as she learned about her family’s journey to Jordan after the events of 1948, a poignant tale of displacement and resilience.

For Lynne, like many in the Palestinian diaspora, life since October 7 has prompted deep reflections on cultural heritage. At 31, she channels these reflections into her art initiative, “Painting For Palestine,” which serves as a platform to showcase and celebrate various cultural facets of the country. Lynne, a visual communication graduate from the American University of Sharjah, shares her artistic expertise through workshops, such as the recent keffiyeh painting workshop at The Roost x Lento.

The artist perceives Painting For Palestine not merely as an art workshop but as a community that provides healing in the aftermath of significant events. The workshops, once predominantly attended by Palestinians, now attract over 20 nationalities, fostering a diverse and supportive environment.

Despite being born in Jordan and raised in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Lynne’s connection to Palestine remains strong. Her passion for art as a means of cultural expression emerged during her formative years, eventually leading her to transition from a career in social media management to pursue art full-time. Her mission is to bridge the cultural gap surrounding Palestine, moving beyond the historical conflict narrative to showcase the richness of Palestinian culture.

Lynne’s dedication extends beyond art workshops; she actively engages with Palestinian communities, visiting a refugee camp in Jordan and planning to train 30 young girls in creating merchandise. The proceeds from selling these items in the UAE will contribute to the education of these girls.

Recognizing the power of art in healing, Lynne initiated the “Letters To Gaza” project after October 7, encouraging participants to express their emotions through drawing and writing. Subsequent Painting For Palestine sessions incorporated sound healing, breathwork techniques, and trauma healing, emphasizing art’s role in addressing collective grief.

In preserving Palestinian identity, Lynne encourages her students to replicate the works of late artist Heba Zaghout, who perished during an air strike in Gaza. By creating copies of Zaghout’s art, Lynne ensures that the artist’s legacy endures, preventing the erasure of their shared identity.

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