Beirut – Only recently have many Beirut residents ventured to visit the areas most affected by the blast. Not only in anticipation of any collapses of the cracked houses, but because this explosion affected the whole of Beirut, it therefore became a “known” wound that is endemic to every house and region. And this is the most inflamed wound, for it was for them the last blow that the corrupt authority inflicted on the people of the land.
But was it really the last slap? Especially when we discover that the systematic destroyers of the city, by the construction brokers associated with the people of power, are panting today to buy its destruction from its people.
However, the plastic artists and other supporters of art committed to preserving what was left of the city’s identity were on the lookout for them, either through artwork or by contributing on the ground.
Initially, a question arose: Which authority is the one that inflates its people and land? Then this question soon led to another question that is no less important than the first, which is: How do we protect the destruction of the city from its bombers?
Individual and collective initiatives have increased to protect the damaged heritage buildings and neighborhoods from the possibility that their fate would be the same as the fate of downtown Beirut, which, after its reconstruction, became similar to “Disneyland”. Watching and shopping is expensive.
We recall that one of the most important buildings that was badly damaged as a result of the explosion of last August 4 August is the Sursock Museum of Art, whose restoration process ended after a major effort in 2015. The museum went to the sanitary last July evening clock time returned to activity.
Dozens of plastic artists in Lebanon and abroad of expatriates so far have employed their art and the proceeds of its sale from the reconstruction of Beirut in a way that suits it, the memory of its people and its oriental identity.
These people communicated with architects who were well versed in the art of architecture as well as in loyalty to the identity of the city, and the result was that hundreds of them volunteered for the reconstruction of what had been destroyed.
Meanwhile, plastic artists and illustrators continued to defend and warn Beirut’s ancient aesthetics to turn them into facilities worthy of the skyscrapers’ atmosphere, which could not “technically” tolerate a miniature city like Beirut or its geological structure. according to studies by geologists on the nature of Beirut’s land Studies in the nineties of last century in a Lebanese newspaper.
Among the artists almost organically associated with Beirut’s heritage and memory, looking to the future, away from the melodrama of nostalgia, we mention the plastic artist and graphic painter Elie Bourjili, who lived through the Lebanese war.
After the Lebanese used to pick up his satirical drawings, full of sharpness in dealing with the successive crises of Lebanon, the artist published a very sensitive work of art on his Facebook page and accompanied it with a few poetic words that we were reminded that Bourjili is a plastic artist with his own temper, “generally difficult to obtain” before he was a graphic painter. About his artistic / revolutionary activity.
“Choose the colors of the sky to match your gowns,” the artist wrote. Since that day, one of the clouds has blown. This work of art reveals in particular the mechanism and dynamics of the artistic imagination of Elie Bourjeili and how it “matures” free from the limitations of its creator. Once it is visually complete in his mind, saturated with meaning, he conveys it to implementation.
In the artwork we find the trilogy of cloud, heart and love in the arch of a window that “reds” its face, and the novelty of white and lonely cotton trousers hanging on the washing line on the last floor of a heritage building, and in the ambiguous darkness of a Beirut night that reveals the intimacy of the smells of coffee, water pipe and chopped parsley that are familiar to everyone who loved Beirut and its nights.
On the other hand, the Lebanese artist, Dalia Khedry, stands far from the artist Elie Bourjili, in terms of style or in terms of the length and depth of the artistic experience, but they share their love for the curved Beirut, who ‘s clouds turn red with shame at the intensity of implicit or declared love.
The irony is that the artist, who in 2018 showed a plastic exhibition at the “Art O 56 Street” hall, which was badly damaged by the explosion, under the title “Beirut architectures”, in her last exhibition that was in Beirut . after the catastrophe: paintings that dealt with absence, and the state of disappearance embodied in the heritage houses.
The owner of the hall, Noha Muharram, said that she supports the artist in her revolution against the movement of destruction of heritage houses in Lebanon, and she sees in the exhibition an important role in stimulating the movement against the constant demolition that the city was. subject to for some time at the expense of building buildings that do not take into account the heritage of Lebanon in general and Beirut in particular.
It was before the explosion and before the corruption of the ruling authorities that led to the destruction, in one dramatic moment, of most of what was steadfast in the face of time and transgressions covered in false robes that the good of the people and the country.