Manal Abu-Shaheen - Beirut

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Open: Tue-Sat 10am-6pm

52 Lonsdale Road, W11 2DE, London, UK
Open: Tue-Sat 10am-6pm


Manal Abu-Shaheen - Beirut


Manal Abu-Shaheen - Beirut
to Sat 19 Feb 2022
Tue-Sat 10am-6pm

Taymour Grahne Projects presents Beirut, a solo show by Lebanese- American photographer Manal Abu-Shaheen.

Taymour Grahne Manal Abu-Shaheen 1

Taymour Grahne Manal Abu-Shaheen 2

Taymour Grahne Manal Abu-Shaheen 3

Taymour Grahne Manal Abu-Shaheen 4

Taymour Grahne Manal Abu-Shaheen 5

Beirut features a selection of works from Manal Abu-Shaheen’s ongoing photographic series. Shot in the city where she was born, this series explores the advertising images, much of it western advertising, and real estate development that overlap with Beirut’s halting attempts to rebuild after conflict.

Motivated by a lack of visual history of the landscape in Lebanon, Abu-Shaheen set out to construct her own photographic archive of contemporary Beirut — a cityscape dominated by advertising billboards purporting mythologized western ideals of luxury, pleasure, and excess that are incongruous in the post conflict city. For Abu- Shaheen, the advertisements and pervasive neo-liberal capital represent a contemporary form of colonialism. This under-documented place is occupied by images of a different place and people.

Viewed in retrospect with the knowledge of the complicated events of the past two years in Lebanon, these photographs describe a specific moment in the city’s trajectory. Advertising and urban construction were driving Beirut’s economy. A decade-long construction boom aided by foreign investments and neoliberal interest reshaped the landscape. As the economy collapsed in 2019, the disjunction between the city’s building projects, its lived architecture, and the billboards became a stark reminder of the failures of these mythologies to connect with Lebanon’s specific cultural and political context. Many of the spaces in Abu-Shaheen’s photographs were affected to varying degrees by the port explosion on August 4, 2020. Looking back now to the conditions prior to 2019, the photographs point to the unsustainability of the hyper development of the decade. Lately, empty billboards, destroyed luxury shops, and vandalized bank machines are common scenes across the city. Abu-Shaheen’s photographs chart relationships of time, history and place, while critically engaging the weight of the forces that produce systems of living in a

postcolonial global environment.

Manal Abu-Shaheen (b. 1982, Beirut) is a Lebanese-American photographer currently living and working in the Bronx, NY. Her recent solo exhibitions include Mapping Utopia, Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR (2021), 2d Skin, Soloway, Brooklyn, NY (2019), Theater of Dreams, Bernstein Gallery, Princeton University, NJ (2018) and Beta World City, LORD LUDD, Philadelphia, PA (2017). Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Beard & Weil Galleries, Wheaton College, MA (2021), Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2020), Amelie A. Wallace Gallery, SUNY Old Westbury, NY (2019), The Society of Korean Photography, Seoul, Korea (2017), Queens Museum, Queens, NY (2016), and The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY (2015). She is a recipient of the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship (2019), NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Photography (2019), Aaron Siskind Foundation Individual Photographer’s Fellowship Grant (2017), Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant (2017), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Residency (2016), A.I.R Gallery Fellowship (2016), and Artist in the Marketplace Residency at the Bronx Museum of the Arts (2015). Abu-Shaheen holds a B.A from Sarah Lawrence College and M.F.A in Photography from Yale School of Art. She teaches at The City College of New York.

Courtesy of the artist and Taymour Grahne Projects

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