Imagine if only your own city can talk, its streets, parks, squares, restaurants, seashore, wall of every shop and building… what would it say?! Millions of stories it will share about love, motherhood, deceive, hate, friendship or intimacy.. Many artists captured their city’s unheard whispers but no one have done it like Lebanese artist Ginane Makki Bacho who didn’t only share in her exhibition “Afterimage” at Ayyam Gallery Beirut the story of a city, but also her own story through her city’s eyes.
You feel like flipping a personal album when you walk around the exhibition, as Ginane combines footage from various events in her life and different cities she lived in all in 24 paintings that are full of colors, figures and symbolic details. Just like the bird on young boy’s hand in the “The Pigeon” where Ginane is showing as a background with her shining yellow dress holding one of her four sons, or stairs in “Automatic” in which she appears in front with her blue dress and her parents’ black & white photo in the back that make you think why is everything colorful in the painting except the parents’ image?! Why stairs and what does the pigeon represent?!
The avant-garde artiste shares her story with everyone, exposing some personal incidents and events, shedding light on her emotional experience as a woman from childhood to motherhood, bringing it all without shame or discrete or even fear from being judged as an Arab and woman for telling her private memoir as it is. Ginane was sharing a small part of her memoir through figurative, direct art for two reasons: one is to say life goes on by messages of hope and optimism, very clear in one of my favorite paintings “Just Paint” and two, to show how similar we and our cities are.
The Best VS Worst Comparison
Ginane’s successfully transforms the silent city into a figure with spirit, showing its rise: “Beirut International Airport” depicts colorful old fotoges of the airport and Ginane with her husband back in the 1960s before the civil war and Beirut was in its Golden Age… And falls in “I Hate War” which remarks a clear decleration of the artist’s grief and sadness on how her own city enterned miserable phase of civil war, distruction and how it is still stuck in the dark hole.
You can’t look at one picture without sensing how much the artist is earning into the beauty of Beirut, she attempts to remind people of the lost mesmerizing city and provoke them to bring it back or at least change their present into something better. Ginane’s work is a comparison between the best and worst; brings both situations as they are to the surface, make you ask question “how did we end up like this” & finally leave it to you to decide how they want their city to be… Consider her paintings in “Afterimage” a wakeup call.
Ginane didn’t only put Beirut’s situation as it is, but also her life and it takes a lot of courage to expose some of personal events with public. Each painting carry incident the artist faced in her life and all make you curious to know what the story is. Same courage is needed if someone wants to collect any work in “Afterimage” because it goes beyond the obvious through what is obvious & clear.
Before you leave the gallery you will see a black long roll hand written on it the artist’s thoughts and diaries about the role of art in war and how western artists create “masterpiece” from our misery when they didn’t witness or see it in person the way we did. Here is Black Roll in Ginane’s words exclusively for AlMahha Art Blog…
All improvisation are to some extend happening… Maybe we need to have it
Ginane Makki Bacho
Afterimage is still running in Ayyam Gallery – Beirut until June 15th … Don’t miss it!