An exhibit aims to help heal the damaged cultural heritage of Beirut

·2-min read
The exhibition 'L'Art Blessé' pays tribute to the resilience of Beirut's art scene following the two explosions on August 4.

Many museums and galleries in Beirut were seriously damaged, even ravaged, following two gigantic explosions that hit the Lebanese capital on August 4. While reconstruction efforts continue slowly, a new exhibition attempts to "heal" art through art therapy

"L'Art Blessé" ( 'Wounded Art') is described as a new artistic expression inspired by the principles of psychotherapy and kintsugi, a Japanese repair technique that mends and highlights cracks with gold powder. The exhibition includes not only works inspired by the double explosion that occurred last summer in the Lebanese capital, but also pieces directly affected by the blasts.

This is the case, in particular, of a bust in polychrome stucco made by Katya A. Traboulsi, or "Entangled Love" by Nayla Romanos. This metal sculpture used to be on display in the foyer of the Le Gray Hotel, which was heavily damaged by the explosion due to its close proximity to the port of Beirut. The tragedy plunged Lebanese artist and architect Nayla Romanos into a "coma-like state," as the artist told the Guardian. "I was not able to function..." the artist told the British publication. "The fact of proposing to show art that probably endured the same thing I did was the magic formula for me. I felt like blood was running again in my veins."

Helping Beirut's art scene heal its wounds is exactly what Jean-Louis Mainguy, the curator of "L'Art Blessé," wants to do. The interior designer chose to kit out the damaged rooms with light beams to breathe new life into them. Passages from Lebanese literature and pieces of music complete the scenography of the exhibition, which is currently being held at the Villa Audi. "Art is the only way for us to rise above this drama, without ever forgetting it. Because art is our one and only salvation," Jean-Louis Mainguy explained to L'Orient-Le Jour.

The exhibition "L'Art Blessé," sponsored by Banque Bemo and the Audi Foundation, is presented until January 16 in the Lebanese capital.