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.
What image(s) illustrate(s) 2020 for you so far?
Our dreams shattered.
2020 is the year to stay alive. I’ve lived and seen a lot, but this year is a concentration of catastrophes, between the collapsing of our economy, Covid-19 and the cherry on the top being the Beirut explosion. There is life before 2020 and life after 2020. I guess a lot of things changed. We are in a survival mode, and we have to reinvent ourselves constantly.
At the beginning of Covid-19, I was personally feeling down. The thawra (revolution) we were living was put on hold, we were stuck at home, and we couldn’t socialise due to general mobilisation, and it was so frustrating. As a reaction I decided to take pictures of an empty Beirut, and I started cooking complicated recipes to make myself busy. I discovered baking and started making pastries and brioche. I’m not able to concentrate to read books at all, so I’ve been watching series and movies instead.
To me, this period didn’t change the perception of time, as I am a very disciplined person. I wake up very early each morning to watch the sunrise above the mountains. I walk almost every day very early in the morning for at least one and a half to two hours. As for my home relationship, it didn’t change a lot either, as working as a freelancer I am used to spending more time at home.
My note to myself 15 years from now would say: If I survived the civil war that started in 1975 and all the wars that followed, if I survived two kidnappings during the war, if I survived the Covid-19 pandemic and Beirut explosion in 2020, I hope when I open this note 15 years later, that my beloved country will be peaceful and prosper, as when the war started and I was 10, I said to my beloved dad that it’s going to take 100 years to end, but I am hoping that I’m wrong!
All images are courtesy of the artist. ©Elie_Bekhazi
A VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN PRINT IN SELECTIONS #53
Born in 1965, Elie Bekhazi’s first interest in photography began at the age of five. His inspiration came from a father passionate about painting, photography, and cinema. Bekhazi’s own passion for photography grew to become more than a hobby. Bekhazi studied art direction then fine arts at ALBA (Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts). Since 1992, he has been pursuing a successful career as a commercial photographer whose large and diverse experience ranges from advertising campaigns, editorials and interiors, to people, tabletops, food, and more. His clients are equally wide-ranging and include many reputables names, such as Leo Burnett, Impact BBDO, Saatchi & Saatchi, Promoseven, Pimo Group, Team Young & Rubicam, Memac Ogilvy, Go Graphic, Femme Magazine, Aîshti Magazine, Bespoke Magazine, to name only a few. Bekhazi refined his knowledge by teaching photography and running seminars for arts students at Alba (1995-2003 and from 2010- 2020), AUC (1999), and UPT (2012-2020). Photographer, educator, and above all artist, Elie has participated in a number of photo exhibitions. Additionally, he has been a jury member for annual photo contests by AUB, An-Nahar, and Wild Discovery, as well as the Jounieh Festival photo contest. In 2009 he contributed to a collective photo book named “24 Visions”. He is also an active member of the Heartbeat NGO which treats children born with heart disease.