POST COLONIALISM AND THE SEARCH FOR IDENTITY
MINUS TWO ART GALLERY, BEIT MERI, MOUNT LEBANON
Post colonialism and the search for identity brings together nine artists and their works conceived, to express the local and international situation of humanity. In their multidisciplinary practice, they look at the displacement and oppression faced by minorities. Post colonialism, the historical period or situation representing the aftermath of Western colonialism is reevaluated by the artists. They intent to reclaim and rethink the history and the status of people subordinated under various forms of imperialism. They express the loss of identity and the infinite search for a belonging. They also explore the kind of dreams, hallucinations and psychological symptoms endured by the affected populations. The term “Post colonialism” signals a possible future of overcoming colonialism, yet new forms of domination or subordination, including new forms of global empires, are witnessed in the early 21st century.
To express this issue, the artists are keen on bringing a new form of identity, one that is in constant change, always shifting, in order to make it harder for the occupying forces to steel it, own it or change it, a state that together we have titled as “Paradoxical Identity”.
Selected artists have shown interest in the nomadic approach of civilizations and especially human movement and fluctuant populations. It inspires them to visualize locations through city facades, collage layers as well as their loyalty to them selves through anatomy study of correlated bodies. Intentional hallucinations interact between reality and a virtual that describe ways of imagining the nation outside and beyond conflict, while searching for a sense of self and the memory of the body. In continuous interaction and dialogues between the artists and Minus Two Art Gallery, this exhibition was born as a proposition of a possibility to question the postcolonial present and the search for identity.
By painting the rooftops of the northeastern suburb of Beirut, also known as El Nabaa, Sin El Fil, I find a secure identity for myself. On an urban level the area is abandoned, the contractors of new colonial era are not interested to invest in these lands for the time being, and 60 – 70 years old houses have not yet been destroyed. One may not find comfort to inhabit these quarters, yet I still find surviving landmarks of my cultural heritage through this architecture. A tie with my ancestry that settled in the area mentioned above, around 85 years ago. Every painting I paint, must validate my feelings of security, of belonging. In other words, I wouldn’t paint a topic that wouldn’t calm the anxiety resulting from the fear of losing my identity, my home, my landmarks following the wars and unprecedent economic crisis hitting the country. We can clearly see that the rooftops are merged with sky; even if the limits exist, marked with the fine line between the facades and the blue sky, the eye of the viewer cannot but unify them together. I am a dreamer, I am used to contemplate the sky, the wide blue; I’d rather be on the roofs than on the streets.