Portrait Tagreed Darghouth © Giles Duley
Taking up this issue’s theme of ‘The Diary of an Artist in Confinement Interesting Times’, Selections invited artists to share their thoughts on work, art and life in general since the beginning of the year. We guided them with the following questions:
What image(s) illustrate(s) 2020 for you so far?
If you were to write a note, a reminder, a memory to yourself, or to the world, in a time capsule, and you were to open it 15 years from now, what would it say?
If you had to describe the year 2020 in brief, what would it sound like?
Some of you have dedicated this year so far to working continuously in your studio; some others have found themselves completely demotivated and have halted everything. What have you been doing? Please describe in detail and share with us the work you have been doing during this period.
The pandemic has changed our perception of time and our relationship to our homes. What is your experience?
How do you see the future of art?
Have you been reading?
Some chose to respond in a diary form or with visual storytelling; others provided their answers at varying length and in different ways. Each provides a unique insight into and reflection of the most extraordinary period of our lives to date.

What image(s) illustrate(s) 2020 for you so far?
The image of Beirut’s port after the 4th of August explosion.

If you were to write a note, a reminder, a memory to yourself, or to the world, in a time capsule, and you were to open it in 15 years from now, what would it say?
“You handled these hard times calmly, I’m proud of you.” This is what I would write as a note to myself to read 15 years from now.

Tagreed Darghouth, From the series “Venuses & Aphrodites”, 2020. Acrylic on canvas, 117 x 200 cm. Courtesy of Tabari Artspace.
Tagreed Darghouth, From the series “Venuses & Aphrodites”, 2020. Acrylic on canvas, 117 x 200 cm. Courtesy of Tabari Artspace.

‘The year 2020 was catastrophic all over the planet, and apocalyptic in Beirut. If I could design a plot twist it would be that the coronavirus transmission inexplicably stops overnight; hand shaking no longer triggers anxieties, and the planet resumes life.

 Tagreed Darghouth, Untitled (Lips & Skulls), 2020. Charcoal and acrylic on paper, 21 x 30 cm. Courtesy of Tabari Artspace.

Tagreed Darghouth, Untitled (Lips & Skulls), 2020. Charcoal and acrylic on paper, 21 x 30 cm. Courtesy of Tabari Artspace.

I’ve been doing what I always do: paint, paint, paint. I was experimenting on a new theme before the pandemic/lockdown. Things were already heating up in Lebanon after the October revolution and the economic crisis. I was able to catch my breath during the lockdown and commit totally to painting. My gallery in Dubai asked if an October 2020 show was possible. I poured all my energy into the show. I was able to get results in spite of the anxiety, the distraction, and the mental exhaustion caused by the lockdown plus the current Lebanese situation.

The pandemic didn’t interfere much with my routine. My studio is five minutes away from my apartment. I kept waking up at the same hour, working until late afternoon and working out at home on my days off. What probably changed is that I visited my parents more often, and I was grateful that things felt relatively ‘normal’ around them. I’ve also been reading local Lebanese newspapers excessively; I think I developed a disorder.’

Tagreed Darghout, Piece of Meat, 2020. Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 50 cm. Courtesy of Tabari Artspace.
Tagreed Darghout, Piece of Meat, 2020. Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 50 cm. Courtesy of Tabari Artspace.

 

Tagreed Darghouth. From the series “Venuses & Aphrodites”, 2020. Acrylic on canvas, 200 x 150 cm. Courtesy of Tabari Artspace.
Tagreed Darghouth. From the series “Venuses & Aphrodites”, 2020. Acrylic on canvas, 200 x 150 cm. Courtesy of Tabari Artspace.

Art will always happen; humanity breathes art even with a mask on. I will also quote the amazing Bertolt Brecht in response to what the future of art is:

“In the dark times
Will there be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing
About the dark times.”

 Portrait Tagreed Darghouth © Giles Duley

Portrait Tagreed Darghouth © Giles Duley

Born in 1979 in Saida, Lebanon, Tagreed Darghouth currently lives in Beirut. She obtained a degree in Fine Arts at the Lebanese University in Beirut, as well as a diploma in art education. Tagreed’s social and political themes draw attention to forms of structural violence and misconceptions of the Other. In 2004, Darghouth had her first solo exhibition, Still Features, at Zico House in Beirut, which was then followed by Falling Parts at the Goethe institute in Beirut in 2006. She has since had several solo exhibitions at Agial Art Gallery, including Mirror, Mirror! In 2008, Fair & Lovely in 2010, Canticle of Death in 2011, Rehearsals in 2013, and Vision Machines, Shall You See Me Better Now? in 2015. More recently, in 2019 Tabari Artspace, Dubai held Darghouth’s solo exhibition, Strange Fruit. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions around the world, in Al-Sharjah, Amman, Beirut, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Doha, Dubai, Jordan, Istanbul, London, Miami, Berlin, New York, Paris, and Singapore, among many other locations, including the 10th Anniversary of the Kasa Art Gallery exhibition in Istanbul in 2010, Connecting Heavens at Green Art Gallery in Dubai in 2010, Subtitled: With Narratives from Lebanon at the Royal College of Art in London in 2011, and Thin Skin: Six Artists from Beirut at Taymour Grahne Gallery in New York in 2014.


A VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN PRINT IN SELECTIONS #53.

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