Whenever Mohammed al-Shenbari sees a new object, he quickly tries to find its “balancing point.” In other words, he tries make it stand in a way that appears to defy gravity.
The 24-year-old Palestinian artist says he can balance almost any object. To do this, he uses what he calls a mix of mind and body.
On the grounds of his home in northern Gaza, al-Shenbari stood a chair on one leg and balanced a television (TV) on a bottle of Coca Cola.
“You just need to know the fulcrum of the object and you get it,” he told The Associated Press.
Al-Shenbari is also a physical fitness and bodybuilding coach. He says his healthy lifestyle helped him slowly develop “the great focus” necessary for balancing objects.
The internet has been important to al-Shenbari's education. A year ago, he discovered a YouTube video by Korean balance artist Nam Seok Byun. Al-Shenbari liked the way the artist organized layers of rocks. He used small, round pebbles to support each level.
Trying to copy his hero, al-Shenbari said he would spend days working on what seem like basic models. Now, it takes him just a few minutes to find out how to build them.
The Gaza Strip lies between Israel and Egypt. Israel has restricted movement to and from the area for 12 years since the Hamas militant group took power.
Al-Shenbari's skill has made him a popular performer in Gaza. But after years of living under difficult conditions, he, like many young Gazans, wants to leave the territory in search of better opportunities. His dream is to compete on reality TV shows. He also hopes to travel to Asia to improve his skills.
I'm Jonathan Evans.
Hatem Moussa reported this story for the Associated Press. John Russell adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor. _______________________________________________________________
Words in This Story
defy – v. to go against (something)
fulcrum - n. technical: the support on which a lever moves when it is used to lift something
coach – n. someone who trains
lifestyle – n. the way of life of an individual or group
focus - n. the act of directing something, such as attention, at something
opportunity – n. a good chance or likelihood for success
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