A Year After Beirut’s Devastating Blast, See How 15 Middle Eastern Artists Are Reflecting on Creativity Amid Uncertainty

A new show brings together the work of a range of artists.

Video still from Shirin Abu Shaqra's Conversations with Changes (2010). Courtesy Courtesy Studio la Città, Verona

On August 4, 2020, a massive explosion at Beirut harbor devastated the Lebanese capital, killing over 200 people and destroying thousands of homes. The tragedy felt to many in the nation like the culmination of Lebanon’s history of destruction—one that began with the Lebanese Civil War of 1975, and that has endured in the deep precariousness of daily life.

Abed Al Kadiri, Nyctophilia (2020). Courtesy of Courtesy Studio la Città - Verona.

Abed Al Kadiri, Nyctophilia (2020). Courtesy of Courtesy Studio la Città, Verona.

Almost one year later, the exhibition “I’m One Acquainted With the Night brings together the work of 15 Middle Eastern artists whose works reflect creative resilience amid struggle. Curated by Marc Mouarkech, the exhibition is hosted at Studio la Città in Verona in collaboration with Galerie Tanit in Beirut.

“I decided to organize an exhibition dedicated to Lebanon mainly out of solidarity with a gallery that I have known for 50 years and because I think what happened is a truly terrible event for those affected,” said Hélène de Franchis, the owner of Studio la Città.

The exhibition takes its name from a poem by Robert Frost and reflects these artists’ sense of familiarity with tragedy. The works on view speculate on the effects of witnessing destruction over the course of decades and how memory, the unconscious, and defense mechanisms work to create spaces where people can imagine new and alternate realities.

See images from “I’m One Acquainted With the Night” below. 

Installation view of “I’m One Acquainted With The Night” 2021. Courtesy of Studio la Città and Galerie Tanit, Beirut.

Installation view of “I’m One Acquainted With The Night” 2021. Courtesy of Studio la Città and Galerie Tanit, Beirut.

Installation view of “I’m One Acquainted With The Night” 2021. Courtesy of Studio la Città and Galerie Tanit, Beirut.

Installation view of “I’m One Acquainted With The Night” 2021. Courtesy of Studio la Città and Galerie Tanit, Beirut.

Installation view of “I’m One Acquainted With The Night” 2021. Courtesy of Studio la Città and Galerie Tanit, Beirut.

Installation view of “I’m One Acquainted With The Night” 2021. Courtesy of Studio la Città and Galerie Tanit, Beirut.

Installation view of “I’m One Acquainted With The Night” 2021. Courtesy of Studio la Città and Galerie Tanit, Beirut.

Installation view of “I’m One Acquainted With The Night” 2021. Courtesy of Studio la Città and Galerie Tanit, Beirut.

 

I’m One Acquainted With The Night” is on view at Studio la Città, in Verona, in collaboration with Galerie Tanit, Beirut, through September 25, 2021. 


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