01 Painting, Middle East Artists, The Art of War, Ismail Shammout’s Guardian of the fire, with Footnotes #76

Henry Zaidan
3 min readFeb 27, 2024
Ismail Shammout
Guardian of the fire, c. 1988

Women giving refuge and protection to the children of Intifada
Oil on canvas
120 x 90
Private collection

The first Palestinian Intifada (uprising) began in December 1987, and continued unabated until the peace talks in Madrid in 1992.

The historical and ideological underpinnings of the sufferings endured by the Palestinian people as a whole- including the occupation of land, military violence, continued oppression, and structural discrimination- prevent many from acknowledging or examining Israel’s specific violence against Palestinian women. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian

“We came and turned the native Arabs into tragic refugees. And still we dare to slander and malign them, to besmirch their name. Instead of being deeply ashamed of what we did and trying to undo some of the evil we committed . . . we justify our terrible acts and even attempt to glorify them”. Nathan Chofshi

Ismail Shammout (1930–2006) was a Palestinian artist and art historian.

Shammout was born in 1930 in Lydda. On July 12, 1948, he and his family were amongst 25,000 residents of Lydda expelled from their homes by Israeli occupation. The Shammout family moved to the Gaza refugee camp of Khan-Younes. In 1950 Shammout went to Cairo and enrolled in the College of Fine Arts. After returning to Gaza in 1953, he held his first exhibition, which was a success.

Shammout and Palestinian artist Tamam al Akhal participated in the Palestine Exhibition of 1954 in Cairo. The exhibition was inaugurated by then Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser. Later in 1954, he moved to Italy and enrolled at the Academia De Belle Arti in Rome. He married al Akhal in 1959. Their work has been exhibited in several countries.

Shammout became a part of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the Director of Arts and National Culture in 1965. He also held the position of Secretary General of the Union of Palestinian Artists. He became Secretary General of the Union of Arab artists in 1969. In 1992 he and his wife, al Akhal, moved to Germany due to the Gulf War. After Germany, they settled in Jordan.

He and Al Akhal, returned to Lydda in 1997.

He died on July 1, 2006, at the age of seventy-six. More on Ismail Shammout

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Henry Zaidan

In my Blog is an Online collection of significant paintings from the 1st century to today; complete with art-history and artist bibliographies.