Le Regard
Jerusalem: A Gate of Hope, 2000-2001
Wall installation: molded acrylic resin mounted
on a wooden structure, plastic sheet
Lent by the artist
(Photo: Harry Foster  © Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation)

" Jerusalem: A Gate of Hope expresses my love for Jerusalem and my hope for peace. Historically, the gates of the old city-strong, solid, heavy-were built to protect the inhabitants against a common external threat. Modern politics has constructed a symbolic gate, superimposed over the old; invisible and impenetrable, it serves to contain the people within a conflict that appears insurmountable. "

Excerpt from the artist's statement

Of Palestinian origin, Sami Zubi was born in Nazareth in 1956. From a poor family, he became conscious at a very young age of social injustices, in particular the oppression of women and the tensions that were tearing apart his country. At the same time, he progressively distanced himself from a traditionalism that tended to reject Western art. The fashioning of various materials, the creation of images and observation of statues brought him a certain peace of mind: I could feel that there was something else, an alternative to anger, to dissatisfaction, to real life.

Sami Zubi
Sami Zubi, Ottawa, Ontario, 1999
Camille Zakharia
Iris digital prints
Collection of the Canadian Museum of Civilization

As a young adult, he dreamed of leaving for a foreign country in order to get out of the world he knew and to enlarge his artistic horizons. Sponsored by his sister, he arrived in Toronto in 1978. Once the culture shock had passed, he began to study sculpture at the Ontario College of Art (1980–84) and became a furniture designer. Thirteen years later, he moved to Canada's capital city with his family, and studied for a Bachelor's degree in arts from the University of Ottawa (1996). Less strictly technical, this new training allowed him to discover his own style.

For his sculpted works, he favours cement, wood, acrylic resin, plaster and the integration of photographs, while paying particular attention to the linearity, structure and surface of his pieces. He is inspired by artistic works that he rediscovered during his trips to Jerusalem, like the old gates with Islamic motifs, but also by certain symbols and ornamental elements of Arab culture. Art represents for him, not only a means of expressing social and cultural preoccupations, but also a powerful instrument for social and political change.

Sami Zubi has participated in many exhibitions in Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Canada.