Faithful, acrylic on canvas, 36″ x 36″, 2016
Flash, acrylic on canvas, 16″ x 20″, 2015
Fix Me Deeper, mixed media on canvas, 24″ x 20″, 2015
Golden Beauty, mixed media on canvas, 24″ x 20″, 2016
Essence, acrylic on canvas, 30″ x 40″, 2017
Cordoba, acrylic and water color on canvas, 24″ x 30″, 2018
Granada, acrylic and water color on canvas, 28″ x 35″, 2018
I believe in the truth that memories are in you; that is, that you are a part of your memories. To this end, I explore in my artwork the emotional and psychological connections that each of us has with memories as well as identity.
I have always been attracted to facial expressions, especially those of female faces, and I use them as a basis for revealing the deeper and more spiritual dimension that comprises in each of us a natural mix of traditions and cultures that give solid meaning to humanity and the ways that every human being carries his or her own memories.
I usually place female faces in emotional tension with spiritual attitude to convey vibrant feelings; at the same time, I use color, calligraphy, and natural settings to play up either the conflicting sentiments or the fluidity and harmony that define the self. Although different female faces repeat themselves in my paintings, those faces can be said to represent the same woman. The aim of my artistic approach is to help the viewer understand that answers to all inquiries are found in one’s eyes—the windows to the soul and to memories—but ultimately, it is our common humanity that grounds us: we all are the same, regardless of our differences.
I paint into my female faces the emotions I feel when I look deeply into the meaning(s) of a poem or a piece of music I am listening to. Colors and calligraphy direct me to enter into the spiritual realm. By focusing on certain elements or on the forms and structure of Arabic calligraphy, I aim to make manifest the beauty of the similarities between facial emotions and the curved and gentle movements of the lettering. My hope is that by raising such awareness, I foster in each viewer a certain level of respect and acceptance of my identity.
About the Artist
Palestinian-American artist Manal Deeb, originally from Ramallah in the West Bank region, studied studio arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago and received her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, with a concentration in the psychology of art, from George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.
Since her early successes — ADC Arab Woman of the Year (2013) and Palestine Artist of the Month (2014) — Manal Deeb has exhibited in numerous solo and group shows in the United States and abroad. In addition to presentations of her work in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, Spokane, Santa Fe, Denver, and Washington, D.C., her paintings, which blend abstraction with realism, have been mounted in London, England; Doha, Qatar; Cairo, Egypt; Delhi, India; Rome, Italy; Malaga, Spain; Paris, France; and Amman, Jordan, among other cities.
In 2018, Manal Deeb’s layered, textured, and acrylic and mixed-media paintings, which have been described as “thought-provoking metaphors” for identity, were in a group exhibition at Palestine Museum US, in Woodbridge, Connecticut. Later in the year, they can be seen in group shows in Seattle, Washington (June 10 – August 7), and in Vermont (September), and in solo exhibitions in Jerusalem, Palestine (August), and London, England (November). From June 23 through September 23, Manal Deeb will be exhibiting with 160 other artists from 37 countries in “Human Rights?: #EDU International Contemporary Art Exhibition” hosted by Associazione Internazionale Arti Plastiche Italia, in Rovereto (Trento), Italy.
Interviews with Manal Deeb have appeared on television and in many art-related journals, periodicals, and newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and abroad, including Hayat Washington, Arab Woman magazine, and The Art Newspaper.
Manal Deeb has published a book, Dome of the Soul, a collaboration with a Palestinian poet featuring poetry and artwork. Her creative effort with the band Genre Peak of Sacramento, California, resulted in the CD Fix Me Deeper for which she composed and spoke the Arabic lyrics. She also produced the CD’s cover art.
A resident of Fairfax, Virginia, Manal Deeb maintains her studio at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton.