A new exhibition of works by Sami Basbous sees the multi-talented Lebanese artist return to his birthplace of Ghouma, Batroun for inspiration, where he breathes new life into a richly diverse range of elements, from the discarded to the iconic, all of which say something about this fascinating and ancient coastal city.
Titled 'Batroun, from Sea to Mountains', the exhibition is a multi-faceted one that reflects the many attributes of the Beirut-based painter, composer, performer and writer, encompassing not only art, but also live musical performances, and interactive storytelling and poetry. The show takes place at Villa Paradiso in the Old Souk Area of Batroun and runs until Sunday April 14.
Basbous began his project on the streets, seeking out a variety of components to work with, from once-attractive posters and flyers on walls to weather-beaten, but resilient fishing boats. These, together with plenty of other snapshots and souvenirs of Batroun life were deconstructed, regenerated by means of a reverse/revenge collage process and then photographed, with the results printed on canvas or quality art paper. Afterwards, Basbous immersed himself in painting his signature abstract and realistic figures at his atelier, using a variety of media, against a backdrop of music. The resulting haunting personas were then melded with the photographs, bringing to life multi-layered, substantive souls keen to relate their true stories or fables or perhaps a combination of both.
Commenting ahead of the opening, Sami Basbous described nature as undoubtedly the most beautiful form of art. "Imagine a world where there are only walls and no nature. You'd be confined in a prison with limited inspiration, devoid of magic," he said.
He added that from an artist's perspective, art is liberating, providing the opportunity to get in touch with the intangible, both deeper within and outside of oneself.
"Artists change the perception of reality through music, painting, poetry and cinema, while trying to relay the meaning of their vision to the world so it can be shared, do good and heal," he commented.
'Batroun, from Sea to Mountains' is open daily from 9am to 9pm.
There will be storytelling, poetry and a live performance on April 9 and again on the closing evening of April 14, complete with interactive music and poetry, at Villa Paradiso.