The exhibition ethnographically explores the material manifestations of Lebanon’s economic crisis across Beirut’s urban fabric.
Lebanon is now the site of one of the world’s worst economic crises since the 1850s. Through an ethnographic lens, Utilities seeks to explore Beirut’s economic collapse by excavating and documenting the multilayers of the crisis’s material manifestations across the city’s urban fabric. The work focuses on the infrastructural dimensions that were most affected, namely the electricity grids, water supplies, and the banking sector.
Mrad’s work reflects how Beirut’s infrastructure has changed as a product of the crisis: residents turning to solar power as an alternative to the city’s energy grid; private water companies thriving as households and businesses run dry of water; and banks, where depositors’ savings are withheld and their value evaporating, becoming heavily securitized and militarized sites of hostility.
Already immersed in Beirut’s social and urban landscape as an inhabitant and artist, Mrad’s work can be classified as an ‘ethnography at home’ that pushes us to think through objects. The artist’s practice focuses on the material urban landscape as a site of socio-political and economic phenomena.
Dia Mrad is a Lebanese visual artist working in the field of photography. Through his work, he captures the shifting urban environment from aesthetic, social-economic, and cultural perspectives. Focusing largely on Beirut, the artist portrays buildings as silent witnesses, alluding to the themes of identity and transience.
Dia Mrad’s solo exhibition Utilities
Location: Zawyeh Gallery, Alserkal Avenue
Duration: 11 January – 22 February
The show can also be attended virtually.