Galerie Janine Rubeiz presents “Wandering City”, an exhibition of installations and paintings created by Lebanese-born artist Dinah Diwan. The exhibition will be on display from March 13 to May 4.
In her first solo exhibition in Beirut, Diwan showcases paintings and installations inspired by the diary she kept before she left Beirut for Milan at the age of thirteen. In these pieces, one cannot help but gain an immediately sense and appreciation of the meticulous nature of her endeavours, as she works to breathe new life into the streets and gardens of the old home that she remembers.
These works all share in the geography – the layouts, the textures, the sea and the city lights – as Diwan recalls her old, familiar neighbourhoods, such as Zarif, Chiah, Ain el Remmaneh, Achrafieh, Saint Simon, and especially the Saint Georges, all of which are referenced in her paintings.
Inspired by both nature and the chaotic urban geography of Beirut, she captures the city’s identity within her bright, vibrant colours, meandering lines and delicate patterns. Her keen eye for detail, informed by her own study of architecture as a student in Paris, renders every street corner an intricate visual mosaic. There is a playful quality to her work, inviting the eye of the viewer to wander through the fascinating tapestry of wonderment, experience and comfortable nostalgia.
“During my childhood in Beirut I developed a craving for the smell of freshly sharpened coloured pencils and piles of papers,” says Diwan, recalling her early fascination with art. “My sister and I used to make notebooks by recuperating scrap papers at the print shop across our house. We held competitions, and challenged each other to always produce new drawings. I quickly understood that this game would be a lifelong commitment for me.”
Diwan’s representations of her childhood explorations of the Beirut of old are interwoven with journeys through the Beirut of today. For her, there is no separation between what was and what is, presenting instead a continuous, ongoing experiential narrative. Her precious memories remain alive and vibrant; they will not be relegated to the inaccessible reaches of the past.
The exhibition will be on view until the 4th of May.