Abed Abdi

Painter, Sculptor

Abed Abdi was born in the City of Haifa in 1942, to a long standing Haifa ate family, his mother’s uncle, Abed el Rahman el Haj, was mayor of the city of Haifa in the years 1920-1927.
During his Hi school days he learned painting and sculpting at the workshops of art teachers Yaskil Avraham, Meirowitch Zvi, and sculptor Kafri Mordecai.
In 1962 was accepted to the Israeli painters and sculptors association, the first Israeli Palestinian artist to join the association, only at the age of 20.
In 1962 Abdi held his first exhibition in Tel Aviv, Nahum Gutman was one of the well know artists who visited the Exhibition.
In 1964 was granted a scholarship to study in East Germany (DDR), where a year after he was accepted to the Dresden academy of fine arts, during his studies he specialized in murals art and environmental sculpting , his academic supervisors where professors Gerhard Bondzin, Gerhard Kettner, and Lea Grundig.
In 1970 he received his M.A diploma, and was selected along with other graduating students to participate in the erection of a huge mural at the Cultural Palace (Kulturpalast) in Dresden.
In 1972 Abdi returned from Germany back to his home city Haifa. And started working as an illustrator, graphic designer, sculptor, curator and teacher of fine arts in Colleges and community centers.
In 1972 he obtained the Young Artist’s Award at the Berlin International youth festival.
In 1973 the city of Haifa awarded him the Artist of the Year Herman Struck Prize, In 1999 Abdi was awarded again the Herman Struck award.

In the years 1972 to 1982 he was the graphic editor of the newspaper Al Ittihad and of the literary journal Al Jadid., during this period Abdi Illustrated literature works by Emil Habibi ….
In 1978 he completed with his colleague sculptor Gershon Knispel, the Land Day Monument for Deepening the Solidarity between Nations, that was Erected in the City of Sakhnin.
Abdi is the Founder of “Ibdaa” Association (1994) for the Advancement of Visual Arts among Israeli Arabs, and of “Arabelle” Association (2006) for deepening the dialogue between Arabs and Jews through Arts, and was one of the Founding Members of the “Khalil el Sakakini” Cultural Center in Ramahalla (1998).
From 2004 to 2009 Abdi Served as President of the Al Maidan Theater, and from 1996 to 2000was a Member Director in the Committee for Arts and Culture by the Ministry of Education in Israel.
In 1996 Abdi Held Exhibition in Jordan (queen Rania) 1996
In 1996 Abdi Held a Solo Exhibition in the city of Doha, as Part of an Israeli Arab delegation to Qatar.
In 1998 Abdi Erected an Environmental Sculpture “Homage to Amman” at the piazza of the Jordan National Gallery of fine art in the city of Amman.
. In 2008 was awarded The Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of the Israeli Minister of Culture and Sport, the Jury stated in their decision that “Abed Abdi’s Contribution in the making of collective visual culture among the Arab Israeli minority is unprecedented, and could be described as equivalent to Nahum Gutman’s extent works.”, Abdi was first Israeli Palestinian to receive the Minister of Culture prize in art and design.

2008- , Co-curator of the open air art exhibition bringing together Israeli, Palestinian and foreign artists, attached to the “Holiday of Holidays” multicultural event, taking place in Haifa each year through the whole month of December, celebrating the Christian, the Muslim and the Jewish holidays.
In 2010 was awarded The Notable Sign of Appreciation Medal by the Mayer of the City of Haifa.
In 2009 “Wama Nassina Retrospective Exhibition, illustrations, in Tel Aviv
50 years of creativity exhibition and Catalogue.

The Ministry of Culture and Sport Prizes in Art and Design, 2008

Jury’s Statement:

Abed Abdi is famous and known as one of the excellent and most influential artists on the artistic and cultural life of the Arab {Israeli} society for over forty years.
His contribution to the making of visual culture among the Arab Israeli minority is unprecedented (outstanding)/ His contribution in the making of visual culture among the Arab Israeli minority is unprecedented/ His Contribution in the making of collective visual culture in/ among the Arab Israeli minority is unprecedented, and could be described to the same extent to/ as Nahum Gutman’s works./ and could be compared to Nahum Gutman’s extent works /and could be described as equivalent to Nahum Gutman’s extent works.
His artistic works in illustration and print are displayed intensively from the sixties in the El Etihad newspaper, in the literary journal El Jadid, and in the poetry and literature books, along with the works of /by Emil Habibi, Salman Natour, Samih el Qasim, Muhammad Ali Taha, Anton Shamas and more.
Those/ These Images actually shape significantly the Arabic society’s collective visual memory in relation to Historical events, among them images of refugees, the Land Day events and the living reality in Haifa.
Abdi as an artist and educator promotes for over forty years consistently and with much talent the Arabic culture in creation in Israel.

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