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  • Writer's pictureMajid Alhusseini

From Palestine, With Passion: 9 Artists Keeping the Palestinian Spirit Alive



In the face of adversity, creativity emerges as a powerful force for resilience and resistance. Across Palestine, a new generation of artists, musicians, writers, and activists are harnessing their talents to amplify the Palestinian struggle for justice and liberation. From the bustling streets of Gaza to the vibrant communities of Ramallah, these individuals are weaving narratives of resilience, identity, and hope through their creative expressions. In this article, we shine a spotlight on eight Palestinian creatives who are not only keeping the flame of resistance alive but also shaping the future of Palestinian art and activism. Through their innovative work and unwavering dedication, they are reclaiming narratives, challenging stereotypes, and inspiring solidarity both within Palestine and around the world. Here are 9 of the voices of resilience and creativity that continue to drive the Palestinian struggle forward.



Saint Levant



Marwan Abdelhamid, also known as Saint Levant, was born in Jerusalem amidst the turmoil of the Second Intifada. His unique background includes a French-Algerian mother and a Serbian-Palestinian father, shaping his diverse cultural identity. Spending a significant part of his childhood in Gaza, he draws profound inspiration from this period, reflected in his debut EP, "From Gaza with Love." Blending elements of traditional Arabic music with R&B and hip-hop influences, Saint Levant embraces the rich tapestry of his cultural heritage and amplifies the voices of the Arab community worldwide, as well as the Palestinian struggle.


His multilingual approach, with songs written in Arabic, French, and English, resonates with audiences globally, showcasing the universality of his message. In his latest release, "Deira," Saint Levant paints a vivid picture of a hotel overlooking the sea in Al-Rimal, Gaza City—a poignant homage to his upbringing and the architectural legacy of his father, an esteemed architect and entrepreneur. Through his music, Saint Levant invites listeners on a journey that transcends borders, bridging cultures, and advocating for unity and understanding amidst adversity.


Sliman Mansour



Sliman Mansour is a renowned Palestinian artist celebrated for his resolute stance against enduring military occupation. Born in 1947, Mansour's upbringing in Birzeit, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem profoundly influenced his artistic journey. The events of 1967, marking the occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem, further fueled his dedication to portraying the Palestinian struggle through his art.


Drawing from Palestinian life, culture, and history, Mansour crafts powerful narratives of resilience and connection to the land. His work serves as a poignant reflection of the Palestinian experience, encapsulating themes of loss, resistance, and hope. Through symbols like orange and olive trees, traditional dress, and iconic landmarks, Mansour captures the essence of Palestinian identity and the longing for a homeland. His art stands as a testament to the unwavering spirit of the Palestinian people amidst adversity.



MC Abdul



Abdel-Rahman Al-Shantti, better known as MC Abdul or MCA Abdul, is a Palestinian rapper hailing from Gaza. He rose to prominence with a powerful rap performance about freedom in front of his school, which garnered hundreds of thousands of views on social media platforms. His songs "Shouting At The Wall" and "Palestine" have amassed over 2.1 million and 1.5 million views respectively on YouTube, as of December 2023.


In 2020, Al-Shantti used his platform to advocate for Palestinian families affected by bombings in Gaza, releasing the impactful song "Shouting at the Wall". This caught the attention of the renowned record label Empire. Reflecting on the significance of his craft, MC Abdul emphasized the therapeutic power of rapping during challenging times, stating, "The power that I have in my pen when I’m writing, I am unstoppable. The microphone is the only escape possible."


In 2022, he made a significant milestone by performing at his first concert as part of the FIFA World Cup festivities in Qatar. Continuing his trajectory, MC Abdul collaborated with Saint Levant on the single "Deira" in 2024, which has garnered over 2.5 million streams on Spotify and 2.9 million views on its music video on YouTube.




Hadil Al-Safadi




Hadil Al-Safadi, a Palestinian artist hailing from Safad, has spent her life in the diaspora, using her art as a potent tool for advocating human rights and social justice, particularly for the Palestinian cause. Although born and raised in exile, Hadil's passion for her homeland shines through her vibrant digital drawings, which she has embraced as her primary medium.


Despite never setting foot in Palestine, Hadil's artwork serves as a poignant homage to her ancestral land, reflecting her deep-seated longing and connection. Her dedication to the Palestinian cause is rooted in a fervent desire to reclaim the narrative and shed light on the realities of apartheid. As a self-proclaimed storyteller, Hadil sees herself as a conduit for raising awareness about the Palestinian experience, culture, and heritage, striving to convey the truth to a global audience.


Daboor




Daboor, a true Palestinian rapper at heart, burst onto the music scene with his debut single "Liter Black" in 2020, garnering widespread acclaim and enthusiastic support from fans and critics alike. With a distinctive style and raw talent, Daboor swiftly established himself as a formidable presence in the rap scene, leading to his signing with BLTNM Records.


In his music, Daboor fearlessly confronts the harsh realities of the occupation, with his lyrics serving as a powerful commentary on the violence and oppression faced by Palestinians. His delivery, marked by sharp bursts of staccato, mirrors the intensity and brutality of the subject matter he addresses. Through his artistry, Daboor amplifies the voices of his people and sheds light on their struggles, solidifying his position as a voice for change within the rap community and beyond.


Bint Quds



Bint Quds, an artist of Palestinian and Danish heritage based in Denmark, has carved out a niche for herself with her unique artistic expression. Drawing inspiration from her Palestinian roots, she infuses her artwork with elements of culture, heritage, and identity.


Through her online store, Bint Quds offers a range of products featuring her original designs, including canvas bags, stickers, and t-shirts. Each item serves as a canvas for her artistic vision, allowing customers to carry a piece of Palestine with them wherever they go. With her art, Bint Quds not only celebrates her cultural heritage but also spreads awareness and appreciation for Palestinian identity and history to a global audience.



Shirien Damra



Shirien Damra, hailing from a working-class Palestinian refugee family in Chicago, has built a multifaceted career as an illustrator and designer while residing in the United States. Her acclaimed portfolio is distinguished by its focus on pressing social justice issues, including the Black Lives Matter movement, Stop Asian Hate, and other vital causes.


Damra's work serves as a powerful form of advocacy, amplifying the voices of marginalized communities and shedding light on systemic injustices. With her compelling illustrations, she sparks conversations, challenges perceptions, and fosters empathy and understanding among audiences worldwide. Through her art, Damra continues to be a driving force for change and a beacon of solidarity in the fight for justice and equality.


Narmeen Hamadeh



Narmeen Hamadeh, born to Palestinian parents in Riyadh, has emerged as a notable illustrator with a mission to imbue her work with themes of culture, activism, and beauty. Drawing inspiration from her Palestinian heritage, Hamadeh crafts a distinctive aesthetic that celebrates Palestinian colloquialisms and resonates with the experiences of third-culture kids.


Through her illustrations, Hamadeh pays heartfelt homage to the rich tapestry of Palestinian culture, infusing her work with a sense of pride and identity. Her art serves as a bridge between generations, preserving and honoring the traditions of her ancestors while also reflecting the complexities of contemporary life. With each stroke of her pen, Hamadeh captures the essence of Palestinian identity and shares it with the world, forging connections and fostering understanding across borders.



Shabjdeed




From the bustling streets of Kufr Aqab, Palestine, emerged a talent known as Abu Othaina. With his controversial perspectives and raw talent, he made an immediate impact on the Palestinian rap scene. Adopting the alter-ego Shabjdeed, his debut track garnered attention and piqued the interest of Al Nather, a prominent local producer.


Collaborating closely, Shabjdeed and Al Nather solidified their artistic vision, giving rise to a distinctive style that quickly gained popularity in the region. Their fusion of dark hip-hop and trap elements, characterized by Shabjdeed's nihilistic and introspective delivery and Al Nather's vibrant, rhythmic instrumentals, carved out a unique niche in the Palestinian music landscape. Together, they became one of the most influential acts in the region, leaving an indelible mark on the contemporary rap scene.


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