In Praise of Lebanese Fusion
A Developing Essay Exhibition by UMAM D&R
Exhibition & Graphic Design by Abraham Zeitoun
Launch: Thursday, December 13, 2018 | 6 PM
Open from 4 - 8 | Wednesday - Sunday until March 3, 2019
It might be shocking to know that there is no definitive biography of Fairouz's early days. The fog enveloping when and where she was born and raised is just as thick as that around her personal life, or rather, lives. No one agrees on whether Fairouz was born in the village of Dibbiye in the Chouf mountains, or in Zoqaq el-Blat in Beirut, nor do they agree on her father’s origins. Was Wadie Haddad, husband to her mother Lise al-Bustani, from Palestine? From Aleppo? From Mardin, Turkey? Or of different extraction?

"…And Lebanese" is an evolving exhibition based on UMAM’s documentation work that explores the disparate roots of many of the country's most Lebanese public figures, and thereby questions what it really means to be Lebanese. From Iraqi politicians to Palestinian brothel-owners, national icons to Mercedes magnates, an array of colorful figures have gained Lebanese citizenship in the country's short history as a nation-state. Not shying away from a critique of the idea that to be Lebanese is a God-given gift of the most exalted kind, the exhibition investigates how the Lebanese differ over the question of who gets to be Lebanese? Which aspects of Lebaneseness are privileged or pushed under the carpet? Looking back at Lebanon's past history with its newcomers – and the many inter-Lebanese differences and disputes over their presence and identity – will help us to understand both the competing self-images of Lebanon as a nation, and the country's current grappling with the Syrian refugee presence - and with future arrivals yet to come.

This exhibition was made possible by a generous grant from Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa).