‘Tripoli Triptych’ by Adam Styp-Rekowski at Beyt Cafe

The ‘Tripoli Triptych’ exhibition, curated by Adam Styp-Rekowski, explores the connections and contrasts between three cities named Tripoli in Lebanon, Poland, and Libya. Styp-Rekowski, hailing from the Polish Tripoli (Trójmiasto) with experience living in the Libyan Tripoli and familiarity with the Lebanese Tripoli, aims to bridge the knowledge gap and misconceptions among the Tripolitanians of these distinct locales. The exhibition will take place at Beyt Café in Mar Mikhael from 25 to 28 April 2024.

Despite their geographical separation, all three Tripolis share rich histories as significant ports, yet their inhabitants often remain unaware of each other’s existence. The exhibition, comprising twenty-five triptychs, merges black and white photographs with descriptive narratives, weaving together the diverse elements of each city—its people, history, customs, and architecture—into a cohesive story of the Three Tripolis.

Organised with support from various entities including the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Beirut and the Polish Ministry of Culture, the exhibition seeks to foster mutual understanding and appreciation across borders. It employs the triptych format, emphasising the necessity of all three components to convey the complete picture.

In Lebanon, Tripoli stands as the country’s second-largest city, with roots tracing back to the 14th century BC. Its name originates from the union of three Phoenician cities, forming a vibrant Phoenician settlement with three distinct neighbourhoods. Throughout history, Tripoli witnessed the rule of various empires, from the Phoenicians to the French, until Lebanon’s independence in 1943. To differentiate it from its Libyan counterpart, it is often referred to as Ṭarābulus al-Sham or Levantine Tripoli.

In Poland, the Trójmiasto (“Tricity”) comprises the independent cities of Gdańsk, Sopot, and Gdynia. Gdańsk, the oldest and most prominent, boasts a rich history marked by Polish, Prussian, and German influences, serving as a key Baltic port in the Hanseatic League. It gained significance during WWII and became a symbol of resistance during the communist era.

In Libya, Tripoli, known as ancient Oea, has existed since the 7th century BC. It has been shaped by numerous civilisations, from the Phoenicians to the Ottomans and Italians. The city’s name, Tripoli, originates from the Roman designation “Regio Tripolitania,” highlighting its composition of three cities, including present-day Tripoli.

About Adam Styp Rekowski

Styp-Rekowski, based in Beirut, Lebanon, serves as the Head of the Lebanon Office at DCAF – Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance. With a background in law and experience in democracy-building initiatives across the Middle East and beyond, he brings a nuanced perspective to his photographic exploration of Tripoli. Having previously exhibited his work internationally, Styp-Rekowski’s photographs offer glimpses into the shared narratives and distinct identities of the Tripolis, inviting viewers to contemplate the intersections of history, culture, and geography.

Location: Beyt Café in Mar Mikhael

Dates: 25 to 28 April 2024



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