Kamal Boullata

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Kamal Boullata
EducationFine Arts Academy, Rome; Corcoran Gallery School of Art, Washington, D.C. (1993-1994)
Known forPainting, Silk-screen, Art History
Notable work
Palestinian Art: From 1850 to the Present
MovementHurufiyya movement

Kamal Boullata is a Palestinian artist and art historian. His works are primarily done in acrylic and abstract in style focusing on the ideas of division in Palestinian identity, separation from homeland through utilization geometric forms as well as integration of Arabic words and calligraphy.


Kamal Boullata was born in Jerusalem in 1942. Boullata recalls sitting for hours on end as a small boy in front of the Dome of the Rock, engrossed in sketching its innumerable and unfathomable geometric patterns and calligraphic engravings. Those patterns he saw as a child still echo endlessly throughout his adult work. In an interview he recalled "I keep reminding my self that Jerusalem is not behind me, it is constantly ahead of me." [1]

He studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Rome and at the Corcoran Gallery School of Art in Washington, D.C. In 1993 and 1994 Kamal was awarded Fulbright Senior Scholarships to conduct research on Islamic art in Morocco. Kamal, whose work has been exhibited throughout Europe, the United States and the Middle East, lived and worked in Menton in Southern France, and now in Berlin, Germany. [2]

Kamal Boullata was a fellow resident at The Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin).[3]


Boullata works mainly in silk screen. His compositions are based on the angular Kufi script, embedded in geometric designs, which he uses as a representational form of art. His choice of subject matter is primarily around themes of Palestinian identity and the conditions of exile. [4]

In a review of his work, Moroccan art critic Abdelkebir Khatibi wrote:

“Elaborated with remarkable continuity and patience, Boullata's work is that of a surveyor, an artist of proportion and measurement. Behind this passion for geometry lies the tradition of icon-painting, which forged the beginnings of his artistic training, a tradition that has maintained a venerable continuity between Byzantium and the Arabo-Islamic civilization of the Middle East.” [5]

Due to his use of Arabic calligraphy as a graphic form, he has been as part of the Hurufiyya Art Movement. [6]

Public collections[edit]

Public collections holding his art


  • Between Exits: Paintings by Hani Zurob Black Dog Publishing London 2012 (in English)
  • Palestinian Art: From 1850 to the Present, Saqi Press, 2009, London (in English)
  • Belonging and Globalisation: Critical Essays in Contemporary Art and Culture, Saqi Press 2008, London. (in English)
  • Recovery of Place: A Study of Contemporary Palestinian Art (in Arabic)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Darat al Funun Foundation, http://www.daratalfunun.org/main/resourc/exhibit/bollata/bollata.html
  2. ^ "Kamal Boullata," {Biographical notes], Barjeel Art Foundation, Online: http://www.barjeelartfoundation.org/artist/palestine/kamal-boullata/
  3. ^ The Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. "Kamal Boullata". Wissenschaftskolleg. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  4. ^ "Kamal Boullata," {Biographical notes], Barjeel Art Foundation, Online: http://www.barjeelartfoundation.org/artist/palestine/kamal-boullata/
  5. ^ Khalil Sakatini Cultural Center http://www.sakakini.org/visualarts/boullata.htm
  6. ^ Mavrakis, N., "The Hurufiyah Art Movement in Middle Eastern Art," McGill Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Blog, Online: https://mjmes.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/article-5/