Abdulazez Dukhan

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Different Class's goal is to provide young artists with the space to freely express themselves. Our commitment lies in amplifying their voices and what they stand for. Despite our will to remove ourselves from the equation when it comes to our artists’ voices, we cannot accept neutrality or take distance from the question of systematic colonial oppression. As a cultural platform, we remind our audience – whether you are an artist, a creative, or just a spectator – of the power that words hold. 

We asked several creatives to share their thoughts on art, resistance and freedom. Illustrator, Sirien Salameh, painter, Ismail Mattar, artist, Firas El Hallak, musician Shadi Zaqtan, poet and co-founder of Palettes of Palestine, Hala El Mohor, photographer, Abdulazez Dukhan and art collective Tashattot -  each shared their unique forms of expression regarding Palestinian freedom. 

For you, what does it mean to be free? 

Freedom is my ability to be myself without being concerned about my life, within the limit of respecting people and society, yet being heard and having the possibility to influence and be influenced.

In what concrete ways can the art and cultural sector effectively help with the current situation?

Art is a way to express what can’t be expressed with words. For artists, it is a state of mind that they try to express. If art is used to raise awareness, it can touch people.

As an artist living in Europe, Do you think your audience and environment understand your art, and deal with your art the way you intended?

I think art is not meant to be understood on the same level by everyone, which is why I think my artworks hit on different levels. It depends on the viewer. I don’t think people perceive art very powerfully nowadays however, I think art has become a bit like a social media post where people say ‘aww’ or ‘oh’. They have an instant feeling and then they scroll and move on.

And does the meaning of your art change according to where it is being consumed?

Of course, geography plays a big role in art being understood. Take symbols and pop culture,  they can be understood by some people and not others. So engaging these symbols can be tricky based on where the artist is based.

An artwork, poem, music, or photo you want us to look at/learn more about today?

The photo album I made  ‘An image, worth a thousand words’ tells the exact story I wanted to tell without having to put everything into words. It’s a story of struggle, of moving from pain to pain.

<img class="editorial-image" src="https://assets-global.website-files.com/61eebcc683107b99137f4423/657050ec9fc2f54b3239046f_differentclassf-3(favoH).webp"/>

During the recent upsurge in protests in Brussels, You have been documenting some monumental and emotional moments. Can you tell us a little more about your process? How do you choose what and when to photograph during these protests? 

I have been taking photographs of protests. I freeze certain moments in the lens the way I’d freeze them in my mind.  My senses choose when to click on the camera, it can be a sound I hear and feel touched, it can be a colour or an emotion. Sometimes, moments and people seem as though they are pushing me to take the picture, they represent something I don’t want to forget and want everyone to remember.

I have been taking photographs of protests. I freeze certain moments in the lens the way I’d freeze them in my mind

Do you think art can be nonpolitical?

Art can never be non-political. Art, in fact, is a form of revolution, a sort of expression that can be uniquely formed. No matter how far people try to stay away from politics in their art, sooner or later, they fall into it.

<div class="editorial-banner"> <div class=“editorial-credits”> @abdulazez_dukhan <br/> Donate now to Medical Aid Palestine or to the Palestine children's relief fund to address urgent humanitarian needs in Palestine. Or learn more at Decolonize Palestine. </div></div>

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