march, 2018

01marallday04junAbed Al Kadiri | The Story of the Rubber TreeSursock Museum


Event Details

Opening reception: Thursday 8 March from 18:00 to 21:00

The Story of the Rubber Tree is an ongoing project that examines the histories of Beirut’s abandoned houses, frequently re-inhabited and invaded by rubber trees. Once planted to provide shade in urban gardens, rubber trees now grow wild in the absence of people to manage them, undermining the foundations of the houses they occupy. Abed Al Kadiri’s new painting, sculpture, and video works trace the complex familial narratives and memories embedded in such spaces, taking the tree as witness to their histories.

Consciously unfolding as chapters in a narrative, Al Kadiri reflects on the social, economic, and physical transformations that Beirut has undergone in the last century, through the prism of a single family’s home.

The Blacksmith and the Rubber Tree (2017-18), is a triptych of large-scale paintings that interweave moments of utopia, labor, and isolation. The structure of the storybook is the architecture for intermittent interaction between the blacksmith, his house, and the rubber tree in his garden. Though Al Kadiri works predominantly in painting, his use of pencil and graphite reflects the provisional nature of such stories, and the suspension of time.

The installation, In Dreams: Branch is the Brother (2017-18), comprises of a sculpture cast in bronze, directly from the fragments of five rubber trees gathered from five different houses across Beirut. The rubber chair is a replica of the original metal chair found in the blacksmith’s house. The work reflects on the branch and the tree as symbols for the familial, connection, and the personal; their material mirrors the work of the blacksmith himself.

Al Kadiri’s broader practice examines thematics of violence, cultural heritage, migration, and belonging; The Story of the Rubber Tree explores the changes wrought on Beirut’s urban and personal fabrics, and the tree’s ability to address intimate shared histories.



March 1 (Thursday) - June 4 (Monday)


Sursock Museum

Sursock Museum, Greek Orthodox Archbishopric Street, Ashrafieh 2071 5509, Beirut, Lebanon