This photography exhibition started on Thursday, November 14, right outside The Egg building that faces the martyr’s Square in Downtown Beirut. The non-profit Beirut Center of Photography (BCP) launched the open-air exhibition “REVOLT” with the help and sponsorship of ApealArts, the Association for the Promotion and Exhibition of the Arts in Lebanon.
Over twenty photographs shot by eleven Lebanese professional photographers are now hanging on the bare fixtures that were once holding construction boards before protesters took them down and used them as roadblocks.
Those artists are Badr Safadi, Elias Moubarak, Emilie Madi, Hussein Baydoun, Jack Seikaly, Jana Khouri, Lara Tabet, Malak Mroueh, Marwan Tahtah, Omar Sfeir, and Rudy Abou Charbel.
Chantale Fahmi, manager of the BCP, didn’t only organize this exhibition to archive this revolution and the wonderful people that started it, though this was the main reason.
It is also because she felt the need to give visibility and promotion for the young and talented photographers that have been on protest grounds since day one, participating as much as they can, making sacrifices and capturing the important moments.
One photo was taken by Malak Mroueh of her own bruised skin, with a note next to it that reads: “I feel like my body has been a human shield for men. Eventually, these bruises will heal and I will be on the streets again. Fighting for our right to exist. And I will still have hope.”
Jack Seikaly came back to Lebanon specifically for the revolution. He said, “I was in Los Angeles when I learned about the beginning of the revolution. Immediately delighted with the claims and perspectives it posed, I knew I had to come back to participate in that, physically but also through photography.”
The photos, printed in large format and designed not to be ruined by the sun and rain, were initially going to be placed inside, as most of BCP’s exhibitions are.
The Egg (the City Centre’s Cinema Metropole) was chosen because of its history that complements the history these captured events will have on the future generation. Plus, this historic building has been the canvas for revolution street art since 17 October.
As for the date this exhibition ends, it does not exist. It is permanent and does not have a fixed duration. Even if the pictures end up disappearing, they will still be out there, telling the story of the people’s revolt, the story of smoke and roadblocks, masks and love, hope and pain, pots and spoons, and the Lebanese flag.
These photographs were taken on the streets, and belong to the streets; the street of the capital in specific since it is the destination of many protesters from all over Lebanon. The pictures, though, were taken in different parts of the country where the protests are being held.
This exhibition shows the uprise from the photographers’ and protesters’ unique perspectives. They will be there, over-looking the martyr’s Square and Riyad El-Solh Square, where so much history happened and is still being written.
The absolute beauty of the photographs is that they need no context. The people who took the photos, those who are in them, and those who are looking at them, they have all been part of the events and the pictures at some point. They know the truth of what happened in each scene and at every moment.