01 Painting, Middle East Artists, The Art of War, Ismail Shammout’s Massirat Sha’ab (Odyssey of a People), with Footnotes #76

Henry Zaidan
2 min readMay 21, 2024
Ismail Shammout (Palestinian, 1931–2006)
Massirat Sha’ab (Odyssey of a People), c. 1980

Oil on canvas
40 ¾ x 237 ¾in. (103.5 x 604cm.)
Private collection

Estimate for USD 800,000 — USD 900,000 in March 2017

‘The painting was not just a means to beautifying one’s life, albeit essential in such a harsh and agonizing environment, but it was an expression of hope, an embodiment of the Palestinian wound, a mirror reflecting the Palestinians yearning for salvation and return.’ (The artist quoted in I. Shammout, Art in Palestine, Kuwait 1989, p. 11).

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.