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Lebanese Artists Splash Paint on Sursock Museum

Published January 2019 















Balsam Abo Zour received a Special Mention of the Jury for her

work "Time X, Date Y, Place Z" (2018).

(Courtesy of Sursock Museum/Myriam Dalal)


The 33rd Salon d’Automne crowned the winners of this year’s edition with a small ceremony at Sursock Museum Thursday night. The competitive exhibition which has been up since November displays a varied assortment of artworks from 31 Lebanese artists, amateur and professional alike.

The awards for the Sursock Museum Prize, the Audience Choice Award, two Emerging Artist Prizes and two Special Mentions were announced by jury members Tarek Abou El Fetouh, Nizar Daher, Rania Stephan, Christine Tohme and Jalal Toufic.

Lara Tabet was presented with the Sursock Museum Prize for the scientifically creative art piece “The River,” showing a medley of colorful splashes printed on a textile banner.

The project took her several months to complete after some trial-and-error experimentation.

“This is a work I did using water samples from the Beirut River and I isolated the bacteria on cultured petri dishes and then reinoculated them on a 120 millimeter film strip,” Tabet told The Daily Star, “so what you’re seeing is the interaction of the bacteria with the celluloid film, giving a microscopic portrait of the Beirut River.

“I’m a medical doctor and I specialize in pathology so I’m a bacteriologist as well,” she added. “As an artist I’m interested in revealing what is hidden so I wanted to mix these two [fields] and reveal a bit of the [microcosm] of this river.”


The Audience Choice Award, selected by visitors who voted for their favorite over the last two months, was given to Maria Kassab for her six-photo “Le Naufrage Series.” The snaps explore ideas of memory, family and loss using images of the sea in the shape of people, doing everyday things.

Alain Vassoyan, who received a Special Mention for his interactive sculptures “Broken but Not Dead,” chose a more comical way to look at serious issues namely perceptions of destruction and creation.

“People see something destroyed as very negative or pessimistic but there is potential in it to be reconstructed again and there is a story inside reconstructing it,” he said, playing around with the nine separate pieces that make up a statue of a cat and of a man.

“It’s about the cycle of life and death and how everything and everyone can be something else. If you reverse the head it can become something else, the man can be an animal if you swap the parts.”

Visitors are encouraged to take apart the resin pieces and rematch them with the other statue, creating hybrid creatures. Vassoyan hopes to take it a step further in the future and have 100 statues in a public space for people to recreate with.

The second Special Mention was given to Balsam Abo Zour for her painting “Time X, Date Y, Place Z,” with two figures locked in conflict.

The recipient of an Emerging Artist Prize, Hala Ezzeddine, also chose paint as her media, showing her dark-hued portrait “Ahmad A.”

“This is part of a 15-portrait series of Syrian refugee children I used to teach in Arsal,” she said.

“This is of one of the students and I used to sketch them while in the classroom.”

The Emerging Artist Prize was also presented to Nour Sokhon for her five-minute video piece “Revisiting: Hold Your Breath,” which tackles issues of pollution in Lebanon.

“It started as an installation but I decided it wasn’t enough and the information needed to be shared, so I created a moving image piece that people could empathize with,” She said. “People walk into a dark room with flashlights with a soundscape playing for them to experience and they’re basically the video, directed through my eyes.”

The Salon d’Automne exhibition will be on show at Sursock Museum until Jan.14th.

This article has been adapted from its original source. Written by Maghie Ghali 

Copyright © 2020, The Daily Star. All rights reserved.

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