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For Palestinian artist, spiny cactus makes perfect canvas

Artist Ahmad Yaseen paints the suffering and hopes of the Palestinian people on the prickly pear, a symbol of rugged survival also claimed by the Israelis.
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Ahmad Yaseen makes stunning drawings on cactus pads. His colleagues from the art faculty at An-Najah University in the Palestinian city of Nablus relate that people are impressed not only by his great skills as a painter but also by his original way of expressing Palestinian suffering: using a raw material that no one had ever before contemplated.

“I do not paint martyrs, nor do I paint scenes occurring in the current conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. I draw elements that provide also a glimmer of hope and not just despair,” Yaseen said in an interview with Al-Monitor. “Today, fear reigns supreme on the ground among my people, the Palestinians, but also among Israelis. Yet an artist should have a bird’s-eye view, and that’s what I do.”

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