Malak Mattar

Malak Mattar, age 19, is an artist of startling originality from the Gaza Strip who paints powerfully expressionist faces, figures, and semi-abstract designs. She first started painting at age 13, during the 51-day Israeli military assault on Gaza in 2014. Forced to stay inside for her own safety, she felt a compelling need to release all of her negative energy—fear, anxiety, and sheer terror. She started painting with art supplies from a government school, basic watercolors on paper. This opened up a world of self-expression for her. In the first two years, Mattar produced over 200 paintings.

Unable to leave Gaza due to restrictions of the Israeli occupation, Mattar showed her paintings to the world via social media, on Instagram and Facebook. On her fourteenth birthday, she began offering her paintings for sale in local exhibits. She also began selling and mailing paintings to buyers around the world. Within two years, she became financially independent. Mattar’s artwork quickly began to garner interest from galleries beyond Palestine; her first international exhibition was in Bristol, UK, in 2017. Since then, her artwork has been featured in individual and group exhibitions in Jerusalem, France, Spain, Costa Rica, India, and in the Art Under Siege exhibit held in the Rayburn House Office Building, US House of Representatives, Washington, DC.


Eyes of Women • Volkshochschule • Germany 2020