Beirut, I Love you
All You Need Is Love
This installation has its roots in the riots that occurred this year in Arab countries, due to the cartoon in Danish newspapers depicting the Prophet Mohammad. I began to think about imagery in religion and how delicate the process is in the visual interpretation of Faith, God, absolution, etc.
For inspiration, I turned to what is, in my opinion, the most beautiful sculpture ever created: Michelangelo's Pieta. This sculpture is the most intimate and passionate work of art depicting a religious account. It is a visual history. I pondered about the beauty of the marble, the contours of the body of Christ, the expression on Mary's face and the love radiating from it. Such a moment captured is priceless. Jesus Christ is at his weakest moment, and there is his mother to hold him and care for his body, as he breathes out his last few breaths of life. This along with other sculptures, paintings, church murals, and scripture are what helped spread the Christian faith and make it a permanent religion.
I wondered about Sitt Zainab and how she must have felt when she retrieved the body of her brother Hussein after his brutal decapitation. It is Shi'a tradition that the story be passed down by word and prayer: as a verbal history. The story, lamented and symbolically re-enacted is what has helped preserve the most important event of shia history. The telling of the story by word of mouth and symbolic actions has turned it into an esoteric experience rather than a clear cut physical and visual one.
Thinking about Sitt Zainab and the pain involved in losing a loved one, I thought about all mothers and sisters and i found myself wondering why we have to lose our children, lovers and friends to preserve our specific interpretation of the name of god. why do we find ourselves killing for God?
I believe that there are many aspects of the civil war that are still unresolved. In some ways, it is still raging... people are still angry, insecure and afraid. There are hundreds of thousands of deaths that have not been acknowledged. There are thousands of people who disappeared and are still "missing". There are militiamen who are now democratic politicians with blood on their hands. These ironies are a few of the many underlining ideas in my work presented here.
This installation is both a memorial and a shrine. Here, I have put myself in everyone's shoes... mothers and fathers who lost their children, the masses who lost their mentors, religion that lost its faith to politics and subsequently had it's faith replaced by power and greed. I have walked back in time, and I have dug up the present: I have created a time space conundrum.
What you see here is what I see on my everyday walks through the streets of Beirut. There are no hierarchies... simply threads of ideas, memories, and perceptions. There are ghosts, unresolved love, women in black, men in pink, little corner shops, leftover militia insignia, crackling spray paint, and multi colored lights. lots and lots of multi colored lights.
What is it about mankind that seeks out violence? Has religion always been about power and greed? Why can't we just take off our shoes and dance under what should be the glorious light of God. She is a great companion once you get to know her.
"All you need is Love, Love is all you need." In short: I love you. I love each and every one of you.
back to results