Conference by Gregory Buchakjian
At Saradar Collection Offices
Abdel-Hamid Baalbaki’s War is among the first artworks the Saradar Collection acquired, and one of its largest paintings. Produced in 1977, it depicts through a symbolic scheme violence of despair that tormented Lebanon and its inhabitants during the so-called “Two Years War” (1975-1976). Although painted as oil on canvas, the artist insists in designating it as a “mural” that should be seen by the popular masses, not the elite who visit art galleries.
Articulated around this iconic piece that re-emerged during an exhibition entitled “Road to Peace” at the Beirut Art Center, this talk will explore the practices and ideas of an artist whose path was anchored in his rural origins and his empathy towards the working classes. Among the variety of themes Baalbaki treated - landscapes, cityscapes, portraits, daily life, mythological and religious subjects – always resonate social miseries and struggles.