Issue No.
100, August 2006 Latest update 9 2014f August 2014, at 4.39 am
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     Artist of the Month

Taisir Masriyyeh: the Multitalented Artist

It is no secret to say that it is difficult to synopsize Taisir’s artistic life in a few lines or even a few pages. The observer of his artistic development with its many types and forms finds himself in front of an artist who consecrated his life in quest of all that is novel, raising the standard of the arts that he has known and practised as a hobby and a learning tool. With them he uplifts himself with daring and innovative strides, cautiously making his art realistic and expressive, touching the core of life in his community, springing from the depth of the soil in which he thrived, and being characterized by the originality that springs from the conscience of society. The street is his first school and inspiration and the human experience is the dynamo in a world that is ever moving in the harmony of quiet revolution and commotion of events. His aim is to achieve human continuity in its highest state and without neglecting the capacity to forge a compromising formula between heritage and modernity, accommodating what is suitable to the Palestinian environment.

His quintuple name is Taisir Sami Nicola Hazboun Masriyyeh. He was born in Bethlehem in 1957 and has sensed art since childhood. As a child, he used to observe and listen while the music tutor was teaching his sisters to play the accordion or guitar. When the tutor left the house, his tiny fingers started playing on the two instruments, bringing out correct tunes with childlike strokes. He started to develop artistically without receiving any lessons. His early inclination was not only towards music but he also demonstrated a strong ability to control the movement of handwriting and highlight its smooth strikes. That talent aroused the wonder and admiration of the young and old alike, especially that at an early age he started to design signs for commercial stores in his city.

In the context of searching for his private individual space, variety in Taisir’s artistic experiences came to light. His early experimentation with various forms of art made of him a spontaneous, self-made and talented artist. Singing, drawing, training in popular dance and producing documentary films formed part of his artistic life. After graduating from Terra Sancta Secondary Boys’ School in Bethlehem, Taisir joined Birzeit University for two years. His determination, however, to study art in the country of art and innovation pushed him to join the Arts Academy in Florence, Italy, where he obtained his first degree in the art of graphics and continued his studies towards a second degree in theatrical décor. During his stay in Italy, Taisir married Alessandra who has been, to this day, a great support and companion to him. Upon his return to Palestine, Taisir worked as a coordinator for activities at Birzeit University. Soon after, he established and trained the “Juthoor” (Roots) troupe for popular dance. He also started the “Birzeit Nights’ Festival,” which included staging of the “Palestinian Model Village.” Thousands attended the event, as it was the first of its kind in the occupied territories.

In 1995 he was appointed Director of the Festivals Department at the Ministry of Culture. Despite his short stint at the Ministry, he managed to establish and activate a new cultural phenomenon in the Palestinian territories, namely that of international art festivals. The International Bethlehem Festival, the Sabastiah Festival, and the Mediterranean Festival in Gaza underscored the significance of establishing cultural and artistic connections among nations on the Arab and international levels.

His professional career started when he joined Turbo Design, a design firm in Ramallah, back in 1987. Since then, he has been not only its art director, but also one of its essential pillars, the company’s main artistic driving force and the person responsible for giving the company and its products their image, among which is This Week in Palestine. Through his low profile and good communication skills he has succeeded in gaining the respect of all those who have worked with him. Born an artist, Taisir has remained so during his nineteen years working as a professional. Turning him into a businessman was soon realized to be an exercise in futility! He never compromised his art for the sake of commercial purposes. He would, for instance, refuse to send off a job to the printer’s if he were not totally convinced of it - even if the customer approved it - the thing that eventually earned him the respect of his peers and those working with him. As with all true artists, it is difficult at times to work with Taisir, but at the same time you know that you’re working with a master. Taisir possesses the strong capacity to “radiate.” You feel you are standing before a human being who has spiritual artistic prowess, which radiates from his eyes and translates itself into his innovative, creative and distinctive production of posters, paintings and others items for anyone who asks for them for free. He does not mind being an unknown soldier as long as his artistic experiences remain a source that accommodates his artistic talents and innovations.

Taisir’s art, in its many types and forms, has a unique aesthetic quality that reveals his view of the world or of the human being living in it, with an incessant desire to embrace beauty and enrich it with his artistic talents.

Although nothing has changed in his professional status, Taisir and his family now live in Italy. For the past five years, communication and data exchange have been via e-mail, which gave Turbo Design an advantage when mobility was restricted. Since his stay in Italy, Taisir won three awards by running in the “Balestro Del Girifalco” Competition for designing national banners in Massa Marittima, his place of residence. This competition was open to all Italian artists. He has also established the Maram Oriental Ensemble, which includes Palestinian and Italian musicians.

Taisir and Alessandra have one daughter, Sabreen, and two sons, Shady and Tamer, who have all acquired the artistic traits of their father.

Taisir can be reached at: taisir@turbo-design.com

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