Oblivion leaves sediments too. On the surface of cities or in the depth of the sea. It may, in time become memory.
WHITE MIDDLE SEA (ongoing since 2010)
The Mediterranean sea (المتوسط الأبيض البحر - the White Middle Sea in arabic) is the geological and intangible heritage of all identity sedimentations. Open basin or cosmopolitan diversity graveyard to three continents, Africa, Asia and Europe.
I walk & walk in my natural habitat, its mountains, rivers, seasides, forests, cities, islands...
My eyes are those of an urban 'geologist', but my gaze is erratic: I wander its landscapes as if self-exiled.
Sedimentations of songs, stories, myths, migrations & longings leave a trace behind my path, some visible and some hidden.
From shore to shore, layout and stratification, alienation, immobility, raw fiction, the poetics of light and humour, all play their part in this narrative.
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The body of work WHITE MIDDLE SEA takes it roots in the specific phenomenon of my first trip on a boat, not knowing that this was my first time to migrate, around the age of three, from Beirut to Larnaca and then to Athens. In this series, I pretended to speak about my childhood, yet my real childhood had disappeared. I have lied about it so often that I no longer have a real memory of this time, and my childhood has become for me some kind of a landscape.
Aren’t we the landscape of all we have seen?
Since the beginning of my visual endeavour, I experienced the Mediterranean territory, as a refuge, but also as a field of possibilities.
The cradle of civilisations, the basin of the Mediterranean has been a place where diversity & cosmopolitism alternatively flourished & decayed. People are migrating from a place to another almost always for the same reasons, only direction changes, depending on each new conflict, or calamity.
My work attempts an exploration of those “waves” as they hit the shores, albeit outside the framework of History.
Wandering mainly the Eastern Mediterranean shores, between the cities I lived and the ones I was hosted, when I have to define myself, I become a storyteller without a story.
I seek future and past catastrophes along the way.
I look for intersections, sedimentations, and evaporations in that upturning of depth that can be seen in the striated gap between realities, the reliefs of salt and stone, the canyons where rivers rush down towards the sea, the immemorial abyss of slowness that shows itself in the erosion and geology.
I mainly find it in the verticality of the metropolises, sinking in the chaos of urban space, running away through narrow trails on islands, on erupting mountains, on lethargic lakes, finding home in solitary ports and Faiyum portraits of familiar faces in foreign land.
It is this notion of sedimentation that I would like to convey into this body of work through photography & walking bit by bit more of my natural habitat, where the only borders are dictated by its fauna and flora.
I’ve been standing before those ruins and sediments, recent and ancient, watching myself age. These remains, traces, trails became the beginning and the end of all my wandering. I melded out of those debris some new forms, but they remain mostly un answered questions. And the question of identity yet hasn’t stopped form morphing, in a continuous flux.
In the last few years I have also been trying to understand the function of forgetting, which is not for me the opposite of remembering, but rather its lining. I believe that we do not actually forget. We visually rewrite on the wall of oblivion a profound need to forgive.
Palaio Faliro, Attica
Al Judaydeh, Lebanon
Piana degli Albanesi, Sicily
Isola dei Correnti, Sicily
Ain Mreisse, Beirut
Mikro Horio, Tilos
Beit Mery, Lebanon
Ancient Olive-grove, Egina.
Cala Creta, Lampedusa
Nea Makri, Attica
Mount Etna, Sicily
Santa Marina, Salina
The Ones We Love - Viaduct gallery (Des Moines, USA 2014)
Mediterranean Flux (Naxos, Greece, Sept. 2020)