Mahdi Barajethi was born in 1991 and studies at the International Academy Of Art Palestine
He joined the Emergent Art Space community in early 2013.
Where are you from? Where do you currently live/ study? How / why did you choose to study art?
I’m a refugee from a Palestinian city called “Al-led” which was expelled by the Israeli occupation in 1965. I live in Ramallah city with my family where I also study Contemporary Visual Art. I chose to study contemporary Art because it’s somehow new in the Palestinian artistic ground and it’s a bridge through which I can deliver my voice and opinions on both internal and external issues.
It might sound trivial but I always think that Art chose me. As a little kid I was pulled towards drawing and creating handmade things out of nothing. My need to express myself, which might be bigger than the political, social, and environmental reality, has attracted me towards adopting Art as an approach to express my needs and passions.
I do not believe that I restrict or bound myself to a certain medium; I also don’t mark my methods in one exact medium, but I use what I find most attractive to the inspiration of my art, and I use anything in my surroundings in order to be able to deliver my ideas and notions. However, I began using photography and performance in my recent works to support the mental state, and the subject that I choose to discuss and expose.
Conceptually, much of your work speaks about identity- particularly as a Palestinian male, can you tell us a bit about this topic and what drew you to it as a primary subject matter?
Choosing the subject of identity is inevitable, because as an Arab Palestinian male I live in an environment where I get exposed to various social and political discriminations. Therefore, as an Arab man, I face the stereotypes that are built according to certain beliefs and cultural taboos. These effect my relationship with the external world, and also the internal notions and ideas that are formed in the shape of struggles and confusions. Also, these stereotypes, that were created and prepared for me as an Arab male since birth, stand as an obstacle in my artistic route, and as much as I tried to break those taboos, they still affect my work. However, in my photography I attempt to break these rules and expose ideas in order to create a discussion space and try to get the society to think about the problems and find solutions.
There are infinite issues in the world generally and specifically, and as an artist and a human being I believe that I’m responsible for approaching worldwide and personal issues, and here falls the choice of either taking responsibility or falling towards the stereotypical silence of my society. Thus, I believe that the general and specific issues of the world are tangled and cannot be separated or dealt with on different basis. Therefore, I believe all the issues attract me to search for solutions one way or another.
Do you see your voice as an artist playing a role in a larger global context? if so, how?
Of course my artistic voice seems limited and hidden in one society, but I believe that, besides being part of my society, I’m an individual who belongs to the large human society that contains various voices affecting and changing it daily. I think I can deliver my voice as a critic to various issues, and to be able to put certain struggles on the spot. My aim is to be able to throw questions using the bigger context of art, and in order to be able to do that I’ll have to fully analyze and embrace my surroundings. This is where my role begins in order to be able to create change; understanding what goes around and within me to be able to make a global change.
See more of Mahdi's work HERE