Curator: Rola Khayyat
On view: June 7 – July 28, 2018
A 2017-18 Unsolicited Exhibition Program exhibition
Light in Wartime explores the relationship between light and photography in the context of war. The show presents photographers whose work addresses and employs the blackout darkness and precarious light conditions characteristic of a life under siege. Photographs are made from sniper holes, debris, moonlight, dioramas of memory-scapes, and imagined or remembered narratives. Light, whether it be a source of illumination, on the metaphoric or technical level, is the impetus behind the creation of the photographs, bringing forth new dimensions on the representation of war.
February 26 – April 9
Opening Reception – Sunday, February 26th from 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Curated by Patrice Aphrodite Helmar
“In those days of social turmoil, random destruction, and trigger-happy militiamen, one never knew what to expect to see on the streets. The quick-witted Lebanese turned the radio into a lifesaver. Beirut radio’s terminologies normally used to inform motorists which streets to avoid due to congestion, Selkeh w Emneh (safe and clear) began to be used by one creative radio announcer to warn motorists which streets were free of kidnapping and sniper fire. The two words quickly became the catchword for the civil war, so much so that a Beiruti couple named their newborn twin girls Selkeh and Emneh.”
– Brownies and Kalashnikovs by Fadia Basrawi
What is the fate of artifacts and architecture left behind by a people in flux? A lamentation; a funeral dirge for a city wounded but still living. The Book of Lamentations found in the Old Testament is a series of poems that grieve the destruction of Jerusalem. These verses cry for the return of a city’s divinity, and give voice to survivors who recount their dead loved ones. With each piece a small song for her home, for the loved and lost, Rola Khayyat’s work echoes this traditional lament.
Combining photograms that create and catalog a symbolic vernacular of conflict in Lebanon with a video that addresses the Lebanese Jewish Diaspora in New York, Khayyat engages the fragility, failures, and small victories of permanent politicized identity. Drawing on her childhood experience in the 1980’s during the height of the Lebanese Civil War, Khayyat proposes a version of normal from a position on the edge of stability. It is a gesture that identifies and clarifies the cognitive dissonance and psychological distancing that persists while the world burns on our screens. – Patrice Helmar