Abdel-Hamid Baalbaki: The lost-and sometimes found-murals

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. ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬