Birds die in Galilee

Abdallah Benanteur2001

British Museum

British Museum

Unbound handmade artist's book. Inscription and illustration of the poem 'Birds die in Galilee' by Mahmoud Darwish. Each of the 30 pages consists of 3 sections: 2 outer leaves, one of which has the verse of poetry, and an inner page with a separate monoprint.

Abdallah Benanteur was born in Algeria and currently lives in France. He is a painter and engraver and has created artists’ books from the poetry of numerous writers, including Mahmoud Darwish.

Darwish is one of the best-known poets of the Arab world. He was born in 1941 in the village of al-Birweh in Galilee, from where his family were displaced following the creation of Israel in 1948. He lived for some years in Haifa working for the newspaper Al-Ittihad and began writing poetry. As a political activist, he was regularly detained by the Israeli authorities until he finally left, first for Moscow, then Cairo. It was here that he found his literary place with prominent Egyptian writers, such as Naguib Mahfouz. Between 1973 and 1982 he was in Beirut, and he considered his poem ‘That's Her Image and This is the Lover's Suicide’ the best of all his writing at this time. He left Lebanon at the height of the civil war in 1982 for Tunisia, and from there eventually returned to Ramallah in Palestine where he was to spend much of the rest of his life. Upon his death in 2008 he received a state funeral, attended by thousands of Palestinians. He is buried in Ramallah.

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  • Title: Birds die in Galilee
  • Creator: Abdallah Benanteur
  • Date Created: 2001
  • Physical Dimensions: 22.5 x 22 cm (closed book)
  • Medium: China ink, watercolour and monoprint on 30 folded sheets of paper
  • Copyright: © Abdallah Benanteur. Courtesy of Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris; photo: © The Trustees of the British Museum
  • British Museum website: 2006,0203.1


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