Union is a new magazine spotlighting artists from Palestine and the diaspora

Founded by the activist organisation Artists + Allies x Hebron, the online publication is putting Palestinian creativity at the forefront. Find out more about the seven artists platformed so far.

18 March 2024


Union is a new online magazine that is creating a space for the work of Palestinian artists and those of the diaspora to be celebrated. The artists so far featured in the magazine interact with wide-ranging themes, from Arab masculinity to diaspora psychology, and occupation, and use a whole plethora of mediums to express them, including photography, installation art and traditional Palestinian embroidery techniques. Union recognises art as a powerful form of resistance, and one of the “the most potent forms of expression when words fail”. It holds the words and philosophy of John Berger close, especially his thesis on seeking justice through art.

The magazine is founded by Artists + Allies Hebron (AAH), an NGO that draws attention to the situation in Hebron H2, a Palestinian city which exists under occupation by Israeli military forces. AAH draws attention to human rights violations in the area, and also invites high-profile figures in the arts industry to visit Hebron and meet local artists and activists. At the upcoming Venice Biennale, AAH will be hosting an exhibition in collaboration with the Dar Jacir for Art and Research initiative in Bethlehem, which will explore the aspects of land and agriculture, like the pertinence of olive groves to Palestinian heritage, and how their protection also acts as a form of resistance.

AAH and Union are both founded by Issa Amro, a Palestinian human rights defender, activist and advocate for nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience who lives in occupied Hebron, and Adam Broomberg, a South-African artist, educator and activist based in Berlin, as well as being supported by a team of researchers, coordinators and writers.

Below, we find out about the artists profiled so far in the magazine.


Copyright © Essa Grayeb

Essa Grayeb

Essa Grayeb is a Palestinian visual artist who explores unique topics, like the growth of common Palestinian weeds, and waste washed up on Palestinian shores. In conversation with Clara Wouters, Essa recalls how coming across plastic bags from Lebanon compelled him to start collecting objects he found on the shores from other countries across the Mediterranean, proof that “objects [have] more rights to move and escape than people living in the region”.

“The same trajectory that has been interrupted can still exist, even symbolically, by the movement of these objects, which reach the shores of Palestine without any restrictions, interruptions or interrogations.”

Read the full interview here.


Copyright © Hazem Harb

Hazem Harb

Hazem Harb is a visual artist born in Gaza. In his interview with Alexandra Pereira he discusses how his collage work intertwines archival, historical images and the rich legacy of Palestinian weaving with more contemporary methods of making and media. He details how his work presses viewers to grapple with “the legacy of value, hierarchy and power”, and demonstrates the prescience of time-intensive making as a form of resistance, in contrast to the fleeting nature of digital media.

“When other avenues of resistance can be suppressed, art stands as a vital means of expression and defiance. The systematic suppression of Palestinian voices, whether through the destruction of olive trees or the rewriting of histories, fuels my art as a form of resistance.”

Read the full interview here.


Copyright © Mahdi Baraghithi

Mahdi Baraghithi

Visual artist Mahdi Baraghithi’s interview with Clara Wouters focuses on his project How to Survive Europe. After his friend was attacked in an Islamophobic assault, Mahdi started to research and document the ways Arabs in France protect themselves from racist assaults. Mahdi’s work counters mis-representations of Arab and Palestinian masculinity, which have been used to dehumanise.

“I investigate how men are shaped and reshaped throughout childhood and adolescence, and question the possibility and impossibility of overcoming gendered and aged domination in Palestinian society. My work focuses on deconstructing the representation and construction of masculinity in Arab societies more widely, and more specifically in the Palestinian context.”

Read the full interview here.


Copyright © Amer Shomali

Amer Shomali

Amer Shomali is a Palestinian multidisciplinary artist who reconstructs traditional woven Palestinian wedding dresses with new yarn. In an interview with Clara Wouters, Amer details how the project brings attention to the “broken weddings, unperformed songs, unbuilt homes” that arose after expulsion of Palestinians during the Nakba of 1948, and celebrates the long history of tatreez embroidery.

“Even though Palestinian embroidery is deeply rooted in the local context, it still speaks to a wider audience. This is the ultimate test of art – to be international while remaining locally rooted.”

Read the full interview here.


Copyright © Areej Kaoud

Areej Kaoud

The visual artist Areej Kaoud was born in Gaza before emigrating to Canada; her interview with Clara Wouters focuses on diaspora psychology and her experience of emergency behaviour. Anxiety Is a Present of the Present uses balloons, string and rock to grapple with her complex relationship with anxiety; Areef muses on seeing art as a contribution to wider narratives, as a sense of duty, and a way of finding safety.

“I’m always in a state in which I’m preparing for the worst. I am anticipating finding myself in a state of numbness, freezing. This is why I’m so fascinated by safety provisions.”

Read the full interview with Clara Wouters here.


Copyright © Barbara Debeuckelaere and many women of Tel Rumeida, Hebron

Barbara Debeuckelaere and many women of Tel Rumeida, Hebron

Barbara Debeucklelaere is a Belgian photographer who details her series OMM, which documents the lives and women in occupied Hebron in the West Bank. As many women are confined to their homes for fear of violence, Barbara explains the process behind her taking images of their environmental surroundings, and then handing the women the camera, giving them the power to document their own narrative within their own homes.

“My presence, just like that of many other Western photographers, video makers, activists and journalists, is vital to making the world aware and protecting the people who suffer under this system of apartheid.”

Read the full article here.


Copyright © Taha Afefe

Taha Afefe

Taha Afefe is a multidisciplinary artist living in Haifa, Israel. In his interview with Melanie Pyne, he looks into the complicated intersection of identity, history and language, and his personal experience as a Palestinian growing up in an Israeli city. His typographic works use a mix of Arabic, Hebrew and English to explore the creation of narratives and history building, and how war is reinforced through words.

“In my localised context, it doesn’t matter if you are the Palestinian, the Israeli, or the Western media, each has its own narrative. The interesting thing is how language is playing a huge role in building these different histories.”

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Copyright © Union Magazine

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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