30 November 2007

The BIG news . . .

We just received word that our friend Jackie Salloum's film SLINGSHOT HIP HOP has made it into Sundance!!!!! It's been a long time coming, but Jackie finally finished the film and made it into this very prestigious film festival!

She's reworking her website as well as a new film trailer, but in the meantime check out the old trailer below, on which I assisted her with translation of the subtitles:

Jackie's first film work was the music video montage below, which she created for the Palestinian Hip Hop group DAM's song "Meen Irhabi" ("Who's the Terrorist")

Slingshot Hip Hop is not the first time that a film by our illustrious Jackie gets into Sundance, although it is her first feature-length one. In 2005, her short parody of stereotypical Hollywood terrorist propaganda films, Planet of the Arabs, was also selected by Sundance:


18 November 2007

Beirut Assemblage

Help title these paintings! More accurately, offer a theme that each painting will specifically address.

After my third Land Memory series, Land Memory Rebirth, I am now addressing Beirut as a subject for painting, through a psycho-emotional exploration of a series of identity issues, related to how we view Beirut as a place, a psyche, a dream, a history, etc..

Before I begin discussing this series, I would like to say that it is just as much a series of paintings as it is an assemblage of many paintings combined into one painting. I have no good reason why I did this. I have some idea; perhaps I wanted to attack the whole subject at once, attack all aspects of it from all sides, so that I can finish with it and get back to the Land Memory paintings. But Beirut proved to be too difficult for me to take on and finish off, just as it did with countless armies before me. This series is going to haunt me, and provide me with much work, for some time to come.

I started by assembling 13 canvases together: one 24x24 inch, one 6x12 inch, three 10x10 inch, three 6x6 inch, and five 4x4 inch canvases.

The initial sketch of the entire assemblage, above, was based loosely on a series of drawings that I did on my 2004 visit to Lebanon. Actually, the majority of these drawings were done during my Lebanon visit, with a small number done in the weeks before I left for Lebanon, in emotional anticipation of what I would find. Thus the themes for the various panels in the assemblage:

1: Beirut the Memory
2: Beirut the Dream
3: Beirut the Lie

1, 2 and 3 are based loosely on three drawings that I did one week before I arrived in Beirut.

4: Beirut the ...
5: Beirut the ...
6: Beirut the ...
7: Beirut the ...
8: Beirut the ...
9: Beirut the ...
10: Beirut the ...
11: Beirut the Sea
12: Beirut the ...
13: Beirut the ...

4-12: these painting are based on drawings that I did after arriving in Beirut, as my eyes and veins took in the city; from the chaos of city planning (or lack thereof,) to the invisible, deep-rooted soul that lies beneath the soil, despite years of colonialist influence, to the ever-present upheaval that defines daily life: the tumultuous voices of the people, the resentful waves of the sea, the whispering spirits in the air.

#13: This panel is more related, visually, to my Land Memory series than to my Beirut Assemblage, but I needed to add it here to address the subject of Beirut as primordial land in its purest form, before (or after?) human influence.

#1, 2, 3 and #11 are the only ones with titles, all others are yet to be named. This is where readers of this blog can help, but must consider the information I've provided before suggesting titles.

Each panel, through an emotional exploration of form, color and image is to address an aspect of how we see Beirut.

Below is where the series stands as of now. All panels are unfinished.

I have begun to take apart the assemblage to paint each piece separately. Each individual panel will be considered separately as a composition, but at the same time, all must fit together as one composition. I am also considering exhibiting the 13 panels with a little bit of margin between them, as presented below. What do you think?


11 November 2007

Marcel in Town

Yes, for the 20th time (or so,) we saw Marcel in concert last night. He sang many (old & new) populist songs, but he & his two sons, percussionist Bashar and piano virtuoso Rami, also dabbled in improvisation throughout the concert, as expected, and appreciated. Beautiful as always. Watch short video below.


05 November 2007

For Lebanon's Presidency..

Saba is asking for your vote to be the next President of the Republic of Lebanon.

Her campaign slogan:
          • Fraternity, Dignity, Agriculture
Her qualifications and ideas:
        • She is a citizen of Lebanon.
        • She is 10 years old.
        • She has been lovingly taking care of a younger brother and sister for a long time.
        • She is an excellent artist, and loves music.
        • She has never hurt anyone.
        • She dreams of a day when everyone in Lebanon will be protected and have easy access to:
          • good health care,
          • good education,
          • safe food from our own farms,
          • clean water, land and air,
          • great art and poetry,
          • dignity beyond compare.
(click image for larger view)
"Saba Bazzi for President of Lebanon" is now a cause on facebook. Click here to join it!