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Agial Art Gallery
63 Abdul Aziz Street
Hamra district, Beirut,
Lebanon   map * 
tel: +961 1 345 213     fax: +961 1 345 213
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Rehearsals for a Setting
by Agial Art Gallery
Location: Agial Art Gallery
Artist(s): Omar FAKHOURY
Date: 16 Feb - 5 Mar 2016

A 3D word replaced a sculpture commemorating a former prime minister, after it had been bombed... Over a decade later, some of its letters were damaged in a storm. Some suggested replacing the monument with a clock tower… The dilemma was resolved when the re-designed 3D word was returned to its square.

Militiamen brought chains and a pickup truck to dislodge a memorial tank placed on a pedestal.

The statue of a saint miraculously rotated to enable one political party to defeat another in the battlefield.

A vertical column flying an oversized flag hid the portrait of an assassinated president displayed on a billboard building. That same portrait had once replaced the image of a saint. 


What Omar Fakhoury describes above are ordinary scenes from the spectacle of a country's uncertain present times – scenes in which the visible and invisible dynamics of erecting, modifying or recycling memorials and monuments translate the power dynamics of communities over territory.

The monument as a mnemonic device, according to French anthropologist of memory Joël Candau, was the earliest form of memory transmission before the invention of writing. Materializing absence to make it conspicuous and meaningful, a monument is both a storage medium and a means of sharing – the perfect tool to produce a sense of community.

Inherently shaping and marking space, public statuary plays a pivotal role in nation and community building – a role that is still largely utilized by group divisions across the country. It manifests itself in informal and unofficial transactions, characteristic of contemporary Lebanon’s public space dynamics, and symptomatic of the loose rules and regulations governing monuments. read more

Omar Fakhoury (b. 1979 in Beit Chabab, Lebanon) primarily works with painting, although he also explores video installations and site-specific urban sculptures and interventions. His work concentrates on Lebanon’s complex political and urban fabric. His interest in public space and the elements marking territories is manifested in his latest painting and sculptural works. He received a Bachelor in Painting and Drawing from the Lebanese University in 2001, followed by a Masters of Fine Arts from Paris I- Sorbonne in 2004. He is currently a Lecturer at the Lebanese University (IBA II).


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