"I met Dinah in 2017 at her home in Paris, where she showed me different series from her work. For those few hours spent together, I could not feel time
“I met Dinah in 2017 at her home in Paris, where she showed me different series from her work. For those few hours spent together, I could not feel time passing. I was living in a story, her story.
At first glance, her work on memory fascinated me: collages, drawings on paper, linen, and ceramics, created to record instants from her daily life. A sense of floating emerges from her writings, emanating from a hand that is at ease with both writing and calligraphy. Her inscriptions, firmly rooted in the present, incorporate traces and tempos of past journeys, demonstrating a kinship with traditional Arabic calligraphy.
Dinah left Lebanon at the age of 13 for Milan, then moved to Paris, where she graduated from high school before studying architecture. In her work, one can instantly feel the meticulous endeavor of the architect that she is. The houses, neighborhoods and gardens that she longs to keep alive in her memory carry great aesthetic and emotional value.
This exhibition bears witness to her promenades in Beirut as a teenager, and later in Los Angeles. These works have in common the geography, the cities’ layout and their chaos, the texture, the sea and the light.
In 1975, not suspecting that she and Beirut would part ways, she began writing her diary. These same pages would later emerge as “Journal 1975”: a retrospective close-up installation about her daily life in 1975 – Dinah’s final year in Beirut.
The excerpts of the pages are mainly about neighborhoods such as Zarif, Chiah, Ain el Remmaneh, Achrafieh, Saint Simon, and especially the Saint Georges, present in many of her paintings.
What fascinated Dinah as a teenager was that feeling of freedom to explore “her” city, on foot, by bicycle, or by bus…
These representations of her journeys are intertwined with strolls through the Beirut of today. They do not try to trace what is or what has been. They are a moving narrative, one that prevents memory from being confined to the lost territories of childhood.
In Los Angeles, her paintings are inspired by nature, urban geography, the light, the freedom to be and to float, which mark the city’s identity and bring her back to her perpetual strolls. To live in Los Angeles is to wander, to lose one’s inner compass, and to experience a permanent feeling of disorientation where the East is so near, yet so far away.”
– Nadine Majdalani Begdache
Courtesy of Galerie Janine Rubeiz
March 13 (Wednesday) - May 4 (Saturday)
GALERIE JANINE RUBEIZ
1st Avenue, Charles de Gaulle Majdalani Building (Bank Audi) Raoucheh