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Falastin Film Festival: In Conversation with Malak Mattar

How does occupation and siege affect art and individual artists? Join Palestinian artist Malak Mattar as she shares her experiences!

Falastin Film Festival: In Conversation with Malak Mattar

About Falastin Film Festival: In Conversation with Malak Mattar

How does occupation and siege affect art and individual artists? Is it possible to look at art from occupied areas without considering the restrictions on freedom and other rights? What role has art in the Palestinian resistance?

In this conversation, Palestinian artist Malak Mattar will sit down to share her experiences and discuss the role of art as activism, cultural resistance, assertions of identity, and ongoing shifts in Palestinian narratives, while sharing her journey as an artist in the besieged Gaza. The conversation will be moderated by Bayan Haddad.

Malak Mattar was born in 1999 in the Gaza Strip and grew up under occupation and the military siege. From a family of talented cultural practitioners, Mattar started making art as a teenager during a period of open conflict (Operation Protective Edge, 2014), She has a Masters of Fine Art from Central Saint Martin’s, London, in 2023.

Soon after arriving in the UK, Mattar’s entire world was turned upside down, causing her work to undergo a dramatic shift in style, subject matter and palette. While artist-in-residence at An Effort in Central London (December 2023–February 2024), she documented the genocide in her homeland through a series of mostly monochrome drawings and paintings. She later combined these scenes into a monumental greyscale painting called No Words. “It needs to be completely horrific,” she stated while making the work, “otherwise it will not accurately reflect the genocide.”

Mattar has come to Edinburgh for her debut Scottish exhibition Screams. Her works will be exhibited at Embassy Gallery from 23-27 May and the In Vitro Gallery at Summerhall from 7-28 June.

Bayan Haddad is a Palestinian scholar and an instructor of English literature at Birzeit University. She is the George Antonius Birzeit Visiting Fellow for 2024 and she researches fiction from Palestine and Northern Ireland in light of trauma studies.

Falastin Film Festival (FFF) is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit collective of Palestinians and allies dedicated to bringing Palestinian art to Edinburgh and Highland audiences. Palestinians are often summed up as an ‘occupied people,’ and spoken for, though they have their own stories to tell. Using cinema as a tool of resistance the festival strives to decolonize the narrative and equip audiences with historical context. There is a desire to build community while celebrating Palestinian art and culture through cinema, music, cuisine, and other storytelling mediums. Scotland’s exposure to Palestinian society, art, culture, and humanity altogether remains rather limited. FFF hopes to fill this gap, using both classical and contemporary cinema primarily but not exclusively. They strive to highlight Palestinian steadfast resistance, cultural preservation, stories of love, and in the words of poet Rafeef Ziadah, teachings of life. In so doing, they offer a refreshing portrayal that encompasses the geographic, linguistic, and experiential diversity of the Palestinian people globally.

Visit their website falastinfilmfest.com or follow them on social media @falastinfilmfest.

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