Current Exhibit: CREATION
Running throughout September @ Xanadu

Written By Troy Tolley

Rana Bishara is beautiful. Her presence reminds you of what “beautiful” should mean, and her art reminds us of what it really is: RESONANCE.

If you look up the word “resonance”, you will find a description of Rana and the impact of her current exhibit, CREATION. Inherent in each intelligent brush stroke, each emotional smear of tar, and each innocently-cupped ceramic palm print is a message that somehow moves you beyond the surfaces of our sometimes-painful existence and into the child-like, important perception that everything will eventually be okay. Rana may very well be telling her personal story of pain, her vision beyond that pain, and her attempts to extract the truth, the light, and the “good” from all of it, but that is also a journey we each know personally in our own way. Therein lies the Beauty/Resonance of Rana and her work.

I was lucky enough to be able to meet with Rana and talk about her art. Her gentle, humble descriptions only added to the inspirational impact as she explained the motivations behind her collection. She intends to convey a message of hope and education: to express the sincerity of innocence amidst pain, while extending an invitation to learn about the personal realities that exist beyond the American borders. She explained that all true art is politics and that if there is no message, there is no art. Rana somehow manages to convey her message and her politics in a way that is emotional, thought-provoking, and patient without being the least bit heavy-handed.

Despite the inspiration from the profoundly difficult challenges facing family and friends of her Palestinian heritage, Rana does not belittle, overshadow, or disengage the observer of her art. Politically, there are several layers to the stories of Palestinian struggle, and Rana is known for her stance on the subject, but in this exhibit, she does not seem to emphasize any layer beyond the human element. CREATION seems to express that all suffering, anguish, and personal stories of recovery are part of the mosaic of humanity.

The pieces featured in CREATION emphasize and then liberate the contrast between politics and personality; purity and pain. Using tar, earth-tone paints, cactus husks, ceramic, and lithographs, Rana has selflessly, artistically, beautifully offered us a chance to learn from her stories, to learn about ourselves, and to learn about a world beyond ourselves.

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