On June 30, 2010, Zena el Khalil will present “Ou Ali Mama3ou Khabar… (And Ali Has No Idea…)”, her new body of work based on the July 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the present condition of Palestine. This month and a half long exhibition features five large-scale mixed media paintings, together with a thematic series of smaller hand-sown fabric collages. Also, opening the journey to the viewer is a multi-media rotating sculpture.
El Khalil’s source of inspiration is the cultural clash in which she lives in; the coexistence and schizophrenia of the melting pot of the Middle East: Beirut. While creating “Ou Ali Mama3ou Khabar…” el Khalil focused on a specific object; a flyer that was dropped by Israeli warplanes during their siege of Lebanon in 2006.
“In the summer of 2006, the Israeli army dropped thousands of flyers all over Beirut. Some of them were warnings to civilians to evacuate their homes. Some were political caricatures. All were propaganda and psychological warfare.”
“I was fascinated by the caricature drawings and found myself getting through that long hot summer by doodling on the flyers I was collecting from the abandoned parking lot every time I took my dog, Tapi, on her bathroom excursions…You see, I really couldn’t help it… the paper they were printed on was pink.”
Somehow, through the use of irony and humor, el Khalil finds that working with this image relieves her from the emotional and physical pain experienced during the invasion. The work becomes a form of catharsis, as if with each piece made, el Khalil ingests the negative and churns it into something very far removed from the actual experience. El Khalil revisits images from the political situation with her signature use of glitter, beads, boa feathers and pink and gold fabrics.
Four years after the summer invasion, el Khalil finds herself in a familiar setting: the world cup frenzy has again taken over Beirut and her neighbors south of the border have again been misbehaving.
As Zena is currently unable to rent a plane and fly it over Occupied Palestine, she opted to create, hand-sown artworks highlighting items banned by the blockade. She is also currently considering building a flotilla of her own. The boats would be bright pink, of course.
More of Zena’s work can be viewed on her website: http://www.ziggydoodle.com
This exhibition will be on display at Espace Kettaneh Kunigk in Beirut from June 30-August 13, and will travel to Galerie Tanit in Munich, Germany opening September 10th as part of the “Open Art Weekend”.