Hassan Hourani (1974-2003) was a Palestinian painter born in Hebron. He studied Fine Art in Iraq (1993-97). He worked as art instructor at the Women’s Society College in Ramallah and Coordinator and Researcher at the Wasiti Art Centre in Jerusalem.
In 2001, he studied at the Art Student’s League of New York and continued to live in the city for several years. In New York he presented his one-man show “One Day, One Night” in the UN building.
In his work, the artist observed the world and explored himself in the world. He created installations that explored issues of memory, place and time. He drew, painted and worked with materials from his environment – soil, wood, ropes, sand, and plants.
His work has been exhibited in Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, South Korea, New York and Houston.
In 2003, he returned home for a visit. Like nearly all West Bank Palestinians, he had been barred from traveling across the Green Line to see the sea for many years; but during this trip home, he was able to visit the Mediterranean shore. On August 6, 2003 he went swimming with his young nephew Samer Abu Ajamieh and their girlfriends from Ramallah, and both drowned near the Port of Jaffa.
At the time of his death, Hourani had completed only 10 of the 40 drawings that make up his whimsical children’s book, Hassan Everywhere, in which the character Rihan roams the world in search of the rose of love. That year, his drawings were exhibited at Al-Hoash’s grand opening in Jerusalem, and the next year Al-Qattan, a Palestinian cultural foundation, established the Hassan Hourani Young Artist of the Year Award. In 2004 the Qattan Foundation compiled his completed stories and half-rendered drawings, and published Hassan Everywhere.
The freedom of flight and travel of Hassan in ‘Hassan Everywhere’ carries particular resonance in the context of the confinement of Palestinians for whom such freedom is a dream.