Nafas Beirut

No doubt, Lebanon has always been the most artistic Arab country in my opinion. What emerged recently from the ashes of last summer’s war is proof of that. “Nafas Beirut” is an amazing art exhibition in Lebanon portraying the recent conflict in an artsy fashion. From a pink Warholesque Nasrallah to a pile of Israeli dropped leaflets that littered the country.

The exhibit is a documentation of the war through a multimedia medium that spans the artistic world through poetry, film, photos, sculptures and writers. From film screenings to poetry jams and a lecture on the oil spills.

Frankly I think this is an amazing idea. It’s purpose is not to change history or change the world or even Lebanon, but it appears to be a cathartic endeavor. An excerpt from the Electronic Lebanon article:

The multimedia exhibit includes more than 40 artists of different backgrounds, hailing from around the world. These works are reactionary; they were made out of an urge. To highlight a few, they are raw as seen in the 12-poem piece of Wissam Nouchi entitled “Remember to Forget Beirut”. They are emotional as Sintia Karam, trapped outside of Lebanon wanders around Berlin hoping that somehow her footsteps would take her straight back to Beirut. All the way from Australia, Maissa Alameddine and Fadia Kisrwani Abboud, create an installation entitled “Return to Sender,” in reaction to the millions of Israeli flyers that were dropped on Lebanon. Lina Hakim creates an installation in homage to her real heroes of the war: the teenagers she met while volunteering at a shelter. Zena el-Khalil paints a portrait of Hassan Nassrallah as seen through her eyes. Raed Yassin displays his daily adventures with Nabil Fawzi, a.k.a. Superman. Maria Kassab’s delicate drawings portray her downward spiral into darkness and depression. And already, some find themselves moving on as Rowina Bou Harb reveals in her blank white canvas entitled, “Don’t Feel Like Talking Anymore, I Almost Forgot What I Felt.”

“Super Star” by Zena El-Khalil: This is a portrait of a man who, overnight, turned into an international media sensation. Regardless of my political opinions, his voice was the one I waited to hear. I find that by painting him, perhaps I can break past the media pop star, and try to get to know the human being who has come to have such an overwhelming presence in my life.

+ Middle East Times


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