For many, it’s seen as rubbish. For the perceivers of beauty, it’s seen as brilliant. For me, it’s a thought that always comes to my mind: Humans are born artists since the onset of time where creativity needed not much but what was around them to channel their souls and feelings. Truth is, art was the first form of human communication before even intelligible words. And it was the first form of recording events.
Today, we see that ancient form of communication as a trend; like a return to the beginnings of Time yet with the easiness of the legacy of knowledge. Of course, that’s not a random trend born from the whims of artists. That return to the source surges from the awakening to global warming and the must to preserve our earth.
In that, conscious humans using waste and recycled materials to create beauty, and even practical objects, are not just makers of socio-political statements but also ingenious and brilliant.
And in Lebanon, we have them as well. They’ve proven that arts could be made of anything, and made beautifully, even if intriguing at times. Some of these Lebanese artists have made it to the world, some are not, and some are just hobbyists. Yet all are worth praising and for a good reason. Let’s take a look at some of these Lebanese pieces known as Trash Arts or Upcycling Arts.
#1 A bird sculpture
Exhibited at the MACAM museum in Byblos, this bird sculpture is made of recycled bottle caps by Lebanese artist Jacqueline Ohanian.
#2 Al-Thawra Ountha – The Revolution is a Woman
Beautifully created by artist and architect Pierre Abboud, this sculpture has made a sensation in the Martyrs’ Square of central Beirut and across the internet.
#3 Le Tourbillon – The Tornado
A giant tornado-like tower in Tripoli, create by Lebanese artist Mario Saba with more than 70 electronic and computer’s parts, and chairs, and topped with a bicycle like a cherry on the top. Talking recycling electronics!
#4 We Are Family
Another artistically beautiful statement by Pierre Abboud, following his Thawra Ountha art, and this one, which he named we are family, he captioned it on his Instagram: “Hands in hands, we will win.”
A close-up look:
#5 Upcycled Woman Sculpture
A sculpture made of trashed cans by artist Paulette Touma Eid, exhibited at the MACAM Museum in Byblos.
#6 Refugees Story
Created from scrap metals by the great Lebanese artist Ginane Makki Bacho, these sculptures are part of her series exhibited under the theme “Interminable Seasons of Migration.” The series was also hosted by the Brooklyn Museum over a year ago.
#7 The Phoenix of the Revolution
Built from the vandalized tents of the revolutionaries on Martyrs’ Square, the Phoenix represents a strong statement that recounts, by just being in the heart of Beirut, the story of a people who refuse to kneel and die. The artist Hayat Nazer, who came up with the concept, teamed up with the protesters on-site to build it up.
#8 A miniature ‘cool teen’ sculpture
A small sculpture made (actually!) of chip bags, also by artist Paulette Touma Eid. A very cool idea that looks even cooler materialized in art. Even chips’ bags that we deem so insignificant could be upcycled in art!
#9 Raising Awareness Trash Art
A huge mosaic of 971.37 m² created from 10,000 cans, bottles, and aluminum by 100 Lebanese volunteers from across Lebanon in the coastal city of Dbayeh. This unique masterpiece, which was part of an eco-friendly campaign to encourage people to recycle, entered the Guinness Book of Records last year.
#10 Sculptural Scenes from war ammunition remnants
Lebanese artist Charles Nassar has been transforming war detritus into meaningful art sculptures and sculptural scenes in his village of Remhala, in Mount Lebanon, using remnants of rockets, artillery shells, and bullets that had once fallen on various Lebanese battlefields.
#11 Rust Bird Sculptures
Created from rust metals by Lebanese artist and painter Semaan Khawam, who’s also a poet with a certain affinity for birds. He captioned his upcycled bird below with a beautiful and meaningful message that says: “When the Sun of Compassion arises, the singing birds come from nowhere.”
#12 The Bride of the Revolution
Another masterpiece by Pierre Abboud, and his most recent one, the Bride of the Revolution seen here in its final stage of creation. It stands now in the Nour Square of Tripoli, in honor of the designation the city of Tripoli has earned since the onset of the Revolution. The bride looks about to launch herself forward like a typical revolutionary. An extraordinary work!