Kamal Zeidan

Kamal Zeida

Kamal Zeidan

M.A. 2007, Art

Kamal Zeidan, a 2007 University of Tulsa master's degree alumnus, wanted others to see his Palestinian home as he saw it. So through his art, he attempted to peel back the layers that have covered up his home for decades to reveal the place of "beauty and peace" that lies beneath.

"My home country has been scarred by horror and torment, but the beauty of its architectural designs, decorations and folklore are still there for those who want to see it," Zeidan wrote in his thesis statement.

His master's thesis work, entitled "Rhythms, Doves and Other Things," draws upon the many cultural and international symbols that encapsulate Zeidan's Palestine. The piece covers an entire wall with colorful glazed ceramics. Bones hang in front of the ceramic mural, representing the pain and death that the outside world focuses on when viewing his homeland. Zeidan said that although the outside world is presented with negative images of Palestine, peace and hope are always there waiting to be discovered.

"I was very moved listening to him speak about his work, about the danger of living in Palestine and the violence mixed with beauty he saw there," said Tulsa art gallery owner Mary Ann Doran. "He portrayed politics through art in such an effective way."

Zeidan returned to Palestine in order to begin his teaching career at An-Najah National University in Nablus, Palestine. An-Najah National University has the only school for arts in Palestine and offers degrees in painting, graphic design, interior design and music. Zeidan now teaches ceramics, drawing and Arabic calligraphy. But his experience at TU will help him bring something new to his home.

"The master's degree that I got from The University of Tulsa will help us to initiate the first program in Palestine which offers a bachelor's in fine arts in ceramics," Zeidan said. He said he will continue to work on projects with ideas inspired from the Palestinian heritage and culture.