The Undiscovered Country

It’s tough to artistically capture a war-torn land or a place that’s experiencing upheaval without falling into a clichéd, depressing point of view about the affected country and its people. You won’t find such an empty portrayal in Nidaa Aboulhosn’s “Conatus. Every Day.”

Aboulhosn grew up just outside Beirut, Lebanon, before moving to the States in the mid-’90s. When her home country experienced confusion and tumult during the 2006 July War, she suffered a genuine heartache that a non-Lebanese national could never feel.

Her current exhibit, which shows Lebanon both pre- and post-war, succeeds because the imagery doesn’t take a hackneyed viewpoint. Instead, Aboulhosn shot the series of 20 color 12-by-18-inch photographs with a fine-art perspective, documenting the beauty of the land and its inhabitants.

Some of the images look as if they could have been photographed anywhere. For example, pigeon wall, Jemmayzeh portrays the exterior of a decaying, bird-infested building. However, stroll through the remainder of the exhibit and you’ll see gorgeous, vivifying images exclusive to the region. Various photographs of interiors take an unmistakably insider’s perspective while field of chickpeas, Hermel wonderfully captures a child standing in a beautiful field of growth. It’s a viewpoint of Lebanon that’s subtle, accurate, and hopeful.

For an exclusive Q&A with Aboulhosn, check out the “Valley Fever” blog.
May 2-29, 2008

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Steve Jansen
Contact: Steve Jansen