The relationship between Lebanese political art, the Lebanese civil war and its exile repercussions has always been an ambivalent one. True, art needs peace and quiet for its development. And
The relationship between Lebanese political art, the Lebanese civil war and its exile repercussions has always been an ambivalent one. True, art needs peace and quiet for its development. And yet, time and time again, Hanibal Srouji has managed to prove the contrary by remaining a devoted mediator between reality and memory through atypical methods since his forced exile in 1976.
Today, forty-two years later, Srouji is beseeching us to redeem a fundamental right we as Lebanese have been deprived of: “The Right to Dream.”
Remarkably, tracing Hanibal’s artistic trajectory bears witness to his recurrent adherence to visiting loss and persistence of war memories without falling for the obsession to theorize or archive them. Instead, the artist embarks on a mission to revisit the trauma as a mean to heal and mend new possible ways to experience his ever changing reality. One can almost parallel the course of his work to the theory of Five Adaptive Stages of Grief in the field of psychology. From his exhibition “Particles” (1997) through “Healing Bands” (1999) reaching “Head in the Cloud (2013) and ultimately arriving to “Let us Dream” (2018), it is evident that Srouji is attempting to break the vicious cycle of constantly revisiting this agonizing period of Lebanon’s history and impetrating us to redirect our aspirations by simply dreaming.
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