Lamia Joreige

Marfa', Beirut (H25)

In her multi-chaptered project ‘Under-Writing Beirut,’ Lamia Joreige (b. 1972, Beirut) investigates significant locations within Beirut’s present. The project incorporates various layers of time and existence, creating links between the traces that record such places’ previous realities and the fictions that reinvent them. ‘Mathaf’ (2013) was the first chapter, ‘Nahr’ (2013-2016) is the second chapter and ‘Ouzai’ (2017-ongoing) is the third.

Her Focus presentation brings a series of works from the latter chapter. Ouzai is a small area with a complex history, and somehow it seems to encompass the quintessence of contemporary  Lebanon - issues of sectarian division, displacement, community, urban transformation, density of construction, inequality, reconciliation, etc.

The series of new drawings ‘Coastline’ is based on various maps, departing from the topography of Ouzai’s coastline and area and developing into abstract shapes that evoke flowers, bodily organs and cells. The sculpture entitled Ouzai is inspired from and based on the mapping of the main avenues and streets that constitute Ouzai today. Most of them were made in flux, without formal planning, often defined by the rapid construction of houses and buildings and forming a network of complex structures and shapes.

Ouzai, Cartography of a Transformation is a new work based on maps from the Directorate of Geographical Affairs in the Lebanese Military from 1956, 1962, 1970, 1983, 1995, and from Zoom Earth in 2017. It proposes a subjective and poetic visual interpretation of the transformation of Ouzai over the years.