Friday, 5 November 2010

A must see: Lebanese Artist's social examinations + other very interesting works at Residua Exhibition (Sharjah)

I got to visit the Residua exhibition during my visit to the Sharjah International Book Fair this week. I don't pretend to understand art, but I visit exhibitions in London as often as I can, and this one felt as good if not better. The painting I'm showing here was one of those that hit me the most, because I felt I could really understand what the artist is trying to say.

Taghreed Darghouth examines transformations in culture and lifestyle in her native Lebanon through a series of meticulous paintings. One widespread obsession amongst Lebanese youth is cosmetic surgery, which Darghouth represents in a portrait series “Mirror, Mirror”, including a number of plastic surgery patients healing after surgery. Darghouth has also examined changes in relationships between Lebanese mothers and their children with the influx of hired domestic helpers from Ethiopia, the Philippines and Srilanka. In the “Mirror, Mirror” series, Darghouth, born in 1979, paints men and women who are swollen and bandaged after taking drastic steps to improve their beauty to make it conform more closely to a western ideal. The patients appear injured & abused when, in reality, their wounds are voluntary. The artist focuses specifically on the desire of youth to reduce the arch of their Semitic noses. The commonplace acceptance of plastic surgery has taken a role in re-shaping contemporary Lebanese culture. By focusing on the healing stage, Darghouth highlights the trauma involved in physically slicing away past cultural connections for new ones that are perceived as favorable. Much like “designer labels” donning a bandage on one’s nose has become a sign of wealth and fashion.

Seriously, if you're in Dubai, don't let the traffic scare you away (go before or after rush hour). This exhibition is really worth it. Here's more info about it and about Barjeel Art Foundation which is hosting it.

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