I couldn't let 2013 end without writing this post about the main reason I was given the chance to go back to Lebanon this summer: the exhibition I & I = US and my husband's participation in its opening event.
Frankly, I was lucky to see everybody working together towards the opening night. One of our dearest friends was the plastic artist behind it, the impulse behind the whole event. From her heart, firmly linked to the Levant and to the rich cultures of Al Andalus, poured out the challenging, questioning, moving and nurturing pieces of the exhibition. It was she who envisioned an opening with the powerful music of a viola virtuoso and the rich performance of a Butoh artist in the midst of her tangible poem to Lebanon: "I & I = US".
Of course, that's not to say that things ran smoothly and happy all the time - anybody who's ever tried mounting an exhibition will admit what a stressful and complex task that is. But among the boxes, bubble wrap, scaffolding, noise, chaos and curious staff wondering what all these crazy artists were up to, I felt truly fortunate to see them in full creative process, trying out ideas, dreaming, and entering a zone I could only watch, mesmerized, from a distance.
The opening, like I mentioned in my previous post, was amazing. It was inspired by love, sadness, grief, resurrection... universal subjects, for sure, but particularly poignant in Lebanon's case. It touched everybody, whether by leaving them dumbfounded, confused, shocked, moved or transported to another world. I wanted to post my video of it. Alas, not only was it was badly taken and badly lit but, unfortunately, it was too long for my computer to process. And you would probably have missed out on most of its energy by watching it on a flat screen instead of having being there... Sorry!
But - of course - that was just the opening. The exhibition itself touched on so many symbols, ideas and aspirations... There was a cedar sapling, a blood-red saj (a Lebanese recipient), stars, and Buddha heads, and a poem's thoughts translated into Armenian, Persian, Arabic, Chinese and more; there was a call to all of us, the us that hate the them, the them that struggle with the us, the us and them who, whether loving or hating each other, will end up decaying, disintegrating, six feet under, together...
Naturally, all that creative energy could not simply fizz out. Days later, interviews followed. And afterwards, a photo-shoot too. And that was another artistic blast. Plastic art and dance merged, the exhibition became a playground, and time was frozen thanks to the magic of yet another artist - the photographer.
Like I said, this wonderful creative experience was the whole reason behind our trip, and I remain intensely grateful to the creators, the crazy, loving, gifted creators that made it possible for me not only to see again a place I used to call home, but to participate, if only as a pair of eyes, of this creation.
And with that, I conclude this series of posts about Lebanon and about a trip of a lifetime.