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"Home Beirut. Sounding the Neighbors" on view at MAXXI - National Museum of XXI Century Arts
Ali Cherri, Petrified, 2016. Video installation. Courtesy the Artist and Galerie Imane Farès.

ROME.- Cultural diversity, the memory of war, the effervescence of the present, the profound urban transformation, the prospects for the future: all these are Home Beirut. Sounding the Neighbors, the story of a city, a laboratory of resistance, artistic innovation and hope seen through over 100 works by 36 artists.

The exhibition, curated by Hou Hanru and Giulia Ferracci, is a new chapter of the Interactions across the Mediterranean which, after focussing on the contemporary art scene in Iran (2014–15) and Istanbul (2015–16) this time turns to Beirut, a dynamic city processing the past and acting as a laboratory for the future.

Over the last two decades, Beirut has become an example of resilience, dynamism, cultural vivacity and hope of which contemporary art is both a testimony and a dynamo. The very history and reality of the city always echoes and interacts with lively but conflictive events happening in the neigborhoods, near and afar. The city, rich in cultural, economic and political diversity, is constantly transformed through a negotiation with the globalising world. However, it is profoundly anchored in a collective obsession: how to deal with the idea of belonging, or, how to make this place a “home” for all, while everyone has a different sense of identity? Hence the title of the exhibition, Home Beirut. Sounding the Neighbors.

With an exhibition design that has visitors navigate the complexity of the city, the show is organized in four sections, each conceived as a “home” devoted to one aspect of the city’s kaleidoscopic artistic scene: memory (Home for Memory), hospitality (Home for Everyone?), local mapping (Home for Remapping) and joy (Home for Joy). Throughout the period of the exhibition, a rich programme of events will develop the themes: video and artist film screenings will alternate with performances, workshops and educational projects.

Home Beirut. Sounding the Neighbors sheds light on an extraordinary process of urban redevelopment and social rehabilitation, giving voice to the community of artists, musicians, publishers, designers and performers working to create a more promising future for the city. In opposition to the rise of neo-nationalist and populist ideologies, with its cultural vivacity Beirut is a beacon of hope in a stormy Mediterranean.

Artists: Ziad Abillama, Shirin Abu Shaqra, Etel Adnan, Tamara Al-Samerraei, Mounira Al Solh, Haig Aivazian, Ziad Antar, Caline Aoun, Marwa Arsanios, Tarek Atoui, Vartan Avakian, Eric Baudelaire, Tony Chakar, Ali Cherri, Roy Dib, Maroun El-Daccache, Fouad Elkoury, Sirine Fattouh, Laure Ghorayeb, Ahmad Ghossein, Mona Hatoum, Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Hatem Imam, Lamia Joreige, Mazen Kerbaj, Bernard Khoury, Walid Raad, Marwan Rechmaoui, Graziella Rizkallah Toufic, Stéphanie Saadé, Rania Stephan, Jalal Toufic, Paola Yacoub, Akram Zaatari, Cynthia Zaven. Also included: Al Maslakh, Annihaya (Mazen Kerbaj, Hatem Imam, Sharif Sehnaoui, Studio Safar), Arab Center for Architecture, Foundation for Arab Music Archiving & Research

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