Through “Haneen,” a collective work of Lebanese and Syrian artists on the impact of war on childhood, two nationalities unite to speak with one voice. The exhibition exposes intense feelings of loss, fear, struggle and trauma experienced by 39 Syrian children living in different informal settlements in Lebanon, their poems and stories interpreted by 47 Lebanese and Syrian artists.
It is perhaps no coincidence that this powerful exhibition takes places at a Beirut landmark that has borne witness to overwhelming suffering. “Beit Beirut was undeniably our first choice [for the exhibition], a building we all hold dear and representative of our scars of war: a place that stands as the memory of war,” says Chadi Aoun, the curator of “Haneen.”Aoun is also one of the exhibiting artists, whose work depicts a 14-year-old child bride forced to marry a man more than twice her age. It is a tragic story told by Fatima Al-Tamer, a youngster from Idlib. “It was impossible not to partake in the endeavor and choose a story to illustrate. The initiative takes you by the heart – so I jumped in naturally,” adds Aoun.Interestingly, the artists involved in the project are all children of war themselves, many having grown up during the Lebanese civil war.
In addition to the paintings and drawings, five clay and resin statues, sculpted by Gulène Torossian Der Boghossian, stand as fragile yet solid witnesses to the turmoil of war. Furthermore, ten musical landscapes imagine, in sound, the words of the children. Curated by composer and producer Fadi Tabbal, the melodies are melancholic and inspiring in equal measure.
The exhibition runs until 11 March 2018, 11 am to 6 pm daily. For more details, visit the Facebook event page.