Laila Shawa (b. 1940, Gaza) lived and worked in London. As a Palestinian artist, Shawa’s concern was to reflect the political reality of her country, thus she became something of a reporter of events. Her work was based on a heightened sense of realism, targeting injustice and persecution. She graduated from the Cairo Fine Arts School and the Leonardo da Vinci School of Art in Cairo (1957–1958), traveling afterwards to Italy where she studied at the Accademia di Belle Arte (1958–1964; BA in fine arts), followed by the Accademia St. Giaccomo (1960–1964; diploma in plastic and decorative arts). In 1960, 1962, and 1964, she studied at the Oskar Kokoschka School of Seeing in Salzburg, Austria. She has also worked on United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) children’s art programs in Gaza. She later moved to Beirut in 1967 and worked as a full time artist for nine years. After the civil war in beirut she returned to Gaza where she founded Rachad Shawwa Cultural Center. Since 1987 she has been based in London. Shawa’s works have been exhibited throughout the Middle East, Europe, and in the United States, including in 1994 at the Washington Museum of Women in the Arts and the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris in 1997. Laila Shawa passed away in 2022.
Quarantined in London; for Cities Under Quarantine – The Mailbox Project