Upheaval of the present takes you back to nostalgia. Fragments of memories play in your mind. Incoherent thoughts edited. There is a certain place in the past where a part of you lived and no matter how far you have come, nostalgia takes over. It’s a romance with the past. These vintage images in black and white or in faded colors revived from imagination in full color. Vivid colors surface haunted memories of a buried past.
To eternally perform, to create a role, practicing the dreams of a life, is a talent that they share with their public. Revolutionary works, purposefulness, in that moment the viewer and the artists are entwined. Their realty in the grasp of the setting, the performers drift between reality and fiction. Their courage floods in waves as the artists voice powers underneath opaque blue skies. Light dangling from one building to the other in between broken down stairs and rooftops overlooking the sea. On this night we are all but one, rich, poor, young, and old. We are humans existing in a realm created by this wondrous group of artists taking us on an unusual journey through the passageways of the neighborhood.
Have you ever stopped to stare at the trees?
How they lightly sway in the gentle breeze?
They withstand with such grace their consistent fate.
Pastel and earthy sceneries, leave their marks like bullets left on walls. Upon this war torn scenes, a blend of shades and light hear the drawings’ whisper of a war. This beautiful mess captured by Martin Giesen, washed and running flows with his strokes free but damp. They speak of life so light, pale, and tragic, where the wind blows soft in a ravaged war scene. In his faded colors they are but a dream, yet the Mediterranean still breathes a salty, calm breeze.
Lost in a flat surface where conundrum of colors take shape, the emotional overtones of expressionism come through to us from those visions of beauty created by the great Saliba Douaihy. His paintings although ultra modern somehow break away from what might seem the coldness of modernism by beautiful interruptions of his geometric lines with unexpected projections, and sensuous curves. With a minimum of flat colors he has been able to create a harmony and order, moving and motionless, where light and dark, shadows and hues of sunlight congregate creating scenes of pure esthetic beauty.
Finding great beauty in the natural world and drawing from hawk-eyed interpretations of it, rather than skimming glances, bold and calculated simplicity, are all set in colorful glory. His subjects ranging from animals to humans take center stage in his paintings where they flow in a realm of defined space and exuberant colors.
“When I look at nature, I see it in my own way. Colors and shapes are a language,” he tells.
Life persists, among a field of death, shallow, bleeding but still with breath. A flag once soaring high, now bathed in red still lies standing, among the fallen dream. The skies are smoke, thick and hot like an inferno of battle and shells. The earth is painted in shades of brown but where splashes of red taint the ground. While innocence dies, the flag endures to war’s overtures.
Graffiti canons spray paint art to the ones who reach out to lost dreams. Rebels formed from the corruption held at home. They stand tall out of this, wide-awake, and make a stance. They bring wisdom, facts, and not opinions as they color the walls in truth.
This is war paint, he puts it on everyday so we can remind ourselves of the atrocities of a distance past. They seam like distant dreams painted to heal open wounds. Although his paintings are just pictures of this collective memory of a bygone war era, yet they are worthy of a thousand words as real as life itself.
The Sursock mansion, completed in 1912, is an ornate, white wedding cake of a building. It combines Venetian and Ottoman architectural styles. The building is a melange of influences, much like Beirut. Originally the residence of aristocratic art-lover Nicolas Sursock, it was bequeathed to the city on his death in 1952. When it opened as a museum in 1961. The mansion housed exhibitions from artists in the Middle East and around the world, as well as the prestigious Salon d’Automne for local figures. It’s finally open again after 8 years of renovation and a 12 million$ lift.