Thursday, October 21, 2010

Youssef Ghazawi

Yousif Ghazawi is one of the few artists that I had the chance to
meet in person. He was part of the group artists who painted in the Khaim (Kheyyam) prison. He has a personality that is full of optimism and life; when you speak to him for the first time you will not know that he had lost his entire personal live art. during the three separate Israeli attacks on Lebanon at which time his studios were distroyed in two different places, once in his home town Khaim ( Kheyyam ) in the south of Lebanon and twice in the Dahiyah district of Beirut. The last one was in the 2006 Israeli attack on Lebanon. His entire studio was turned into rubles. but then he insisted on trying to salvage what he could of his collection of his art from underneath the ruble. It was a very moving experience to see Yousef and his wife Suzanne, who is also an artist, collecting their life creation in pieces right after the dust had saddled, They collected their work with the fear of not knowing when IDF would return with more bombing.
later that year, the salvaged work was exhibited in the UNESCO Palace in Beirut. The paintings were exhibited without any restoration in the same condition as they were pulled from the rubble .
When I asked him for a price on some of the work that was shown, he looked at me and with wondering expression in his eyes and a smile on his face as if some one has taken a pride in taken a hit and was able to stand up shortly after. He said to me, "my work now is worth more than ever. It is an art that was subjected to violence, this art was under the rubbles with out a reason. My art was destroyed because of the arrogance of the west and he continued by asking "how much value can one put on art that was destroyed by the Western arrogance when that art spoke about Western art.
Ghazawi's work deals with the concept of presenting an issue of new idea by making a fresh work out of an old well known artwork by a well known artist. from the history of art he takes a composition and gives it a new and modern approach by simply making small changes in his interpretation, of the piece to fit our contemporary time. It is a concept was used before by different artists as paying homage to previous masters

The artist Yousef Ghazawi, his wife Suzanne Shakaroun and nine other Lebanese artists had lost their art to the Israeli attack of the year 2006. The Farhat art Museum has acquired his large mural from the Kheyyam prison symposium in the year 2003... luckily the same work was not in the Khaim prison during the 2006 Israeli bombing of the site.
Naim Farhat

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