Born in Jerusalem in 1983, Ayed Arafah currently lives in Dheisheh refugee camp, near Bethlehem.
Arafah studied art at the International Academy of Arts in Ramallah. His artwork spans many forms—murals, paintings, installations, video, and photography. He is open to working with a wide range of materials and is interested in recycling. To Arafah, art is a journey of searching, discovering, and finding solutions, while exploring many different materials and cultural concepts.
Arafah was commissioned by Palestine Museum US to create a mural in tribute to Rachel Corrie, the American solidarity activist who was killed by an IDF bulldozer in 2003 while trying to protect a Palestinian home in Rafah, Gaza, from demolition. The mural, featured in the museum’s lobby, will be dedicated to the memory of Rachel Corrie at the museum’s grand opening on April 22, 2018. In addition, the museum will exhibit a collection of Arafah’s paintings.
Ayed Arafah has participated in many art projects, artist residencies, and exhibitions, locally and internationally. In 2003, he won an art contest organized by Diyar Consortium, Bethlehem, for depicting Jesus Christ in a Palestinian context. Arafah’s rendition featured Mary as a Palestinian woman carrying the body of her son, a martyr—an interpretive version of Michelangelo’s Pietà. In 2009, he organized and led Art Wave, an art workshop that brought together various Palestinian artists to discuss the theme of identity. That same year, he participated in an academic art project at Khio University in Oslo, Norway.
In 2010, Arafah won third place for the A.M. Qattan Foundation Young Artist Award for his work, “Bog-Jet Bahar,” or “Sea Package.” This work of art was later displayed in the Mosaic Rooms Gallery at the Qattan Foundation in London. The following year, he attended an art workshop and exhibition, Hierarchy, in Cairo, Egypt. He also participated in a student exchange program at the University of Brighton, UK, and took part in the Truth is Concrete program for artists in Graz, Austria.
As artist-in-residence at Cittadellarte—an art and creativity laboratory in Biella, Italy—in 2013, Arafah’s work focused on the social dimension of art through an interactive piece, “Baskets Ball.” This was a giant ball he created from colorful wastebaskets, which he then rolled around the small town of Biella, providing an innovative, amusing tool for social connection and interaction.
In 2015, Arafah participated in the See You in the Hague art project organized by Stroom Den Haag, a center for visual art and architecture, in the Netherlands. He was also selected to participate in a project, Re-Think Palestine, that included Palestinian and European artists and took place in Hisham’s Palace, an early Islamic archaeological site near Jericho on the West Bank. In addition, he contributed to the collective exhibition, Salt and Water, at the Or Gallery in Vancouver BC, Canada. In 2016, Arafah exhibited his work at Qalandia International, a collaborative contemporary art event that takes place every two years across Palestinian cities and villages.
Arafah presented his first solo exhibition, Makanak Sir, at Bab IdDeir Art Gallery, Bethlehem, in 2017. In In 2018, he participated in an artist’s residency in Pocantico Hills, New York, funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.