Courtney C. Radsch

Palestinian painter portrays raw emotions of Palestinians who long to go home

The figures in Zahi Khamis’ paintings have twisted necks, their almond-shaped eyes peering upside down, tragically staring out at a land they will never know. The visual experience of the exhibit Of Exile and Return replicates the emotional experience of pain, love, longing and fear that Palestinians feel as they struggle to define themselves. Khamis, a Palestinian who has lived in the US for 22 years, sees his paintings as a commentary not only on Palestinians exiled from their homeland, but on humanity as a whole, for whom home plays a central role in defining the self.