Sfeir-Semler Gallery is happy to announce the opening of the third solo show of MOUNIRA AL SOLH in our Beirut space. Please join us to celebrate the artist at the opening on May 2nd, 2019 from 7PM to 9PM.


In this new exhibition Mounira Al Solh concentrates on women rights, women stories and their position in History in the Arab region.


In the entrance of the space, on a coffee-painted wall, a green neon and a chandelier made out of used plastic and cardboard cups, welcome the visitors. It navigates the thin line between spirituality and religious bigotry, mixing raw and reused materials.


Since 2012, Al Solh has been drawing and telling stories derived from one to one conversations with displaced people living in her direct neighborhood; as well as testimonies of refugees, exiled individuals and families. These series of drawings, around 500 so far, are a time and a socio-geographic displacement document. Many of these drawings were exhibited at documenta14 in Kassel, and at the Art Institute in Chicago as well as at Mathaf in Qatar.


Based on this research, Al Solh has been embroidering tents and textile libraries as well as quilts including patterns and figurative drawings; following the traditions of women practices in all civilizations, especially in the Arab ones.


A new series of paintings mixes fictional stories by women writers, and those about detained women and their sufferings in prison, in a firework of colors and forms.


In the cinema room of the gallery, we present a film that investigates how historical unrest is registered as personal or family traumas; and recounts the experiences of the artist’s maternal and paternal ancestors in Lebanon and Syria during the First World War, and the Nasserite and Pan-Arab revolutionary movements of the 1950s and 1960s.


We are happy to announce that Mathaf, Qatar has just published a monographic book about this project which is available at the gallery.


The artist would like thank: Sitt Souad Achkar Bitar, Louise Boutan, Zeina Chakkour, Sitt Fatimah Hammadah, Sitt Nour el Houda Wahab, Sitt Noura Matar and Umm Abdo for their outstanding contribution to the embroideries; Lucid Post, Belal Hibri, Aya Ghosn and Rita Mounzer for their help with post-production; Jana Saleh for the sound design; the following people and organizations for providing inspiration and invaluable support: Abu Sakhra, Balsam Abouzour, Hassan Al Hamada, Maria Al Solh, Jacques Aswad, Jihad Chouker, Salam Chouker, Hendrik Folkerts, Maysam Hindy, Rana Issa, Nesrine Khodr, Nadim Meshlawi, Rabih Mroueh, Joumana Saikaly, Roy Samaha, André Siegel, Hanan Solh, Fadi Tofeili, Basmeh & Zeitooneh, Melissa Network in Athens, Mondriaan Fund, Mophradat, the Syrian Community Network in Chicago; and the reading voices: Najwa Barakat, Chaza Charafeddine, Rima Khcheich, Lina Majdalanie, and Lina Mounzer.




  

  

  

The Mother of David and Goliath, 2019, Exhibition views, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut




  

  

  

Al Nathafa Min Al Iman, 2019, Installation views, Sfeir-Semler Gallery Beirut


Al Nathafa Min Al Iman plays with light in different mediums; a green neon on a coffee-painted wall, and a chandelier made out of used plastic and cardboard cups. The relationship between the two navigates the thin line between spirituality and religious bigotry, mixing raw and reused materials.


  

  

  

  

The Mother of David and Goliath, 2019, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut




  

The Mother of David and Goliath, 2019, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut


This series of paintings mixes fictional stories by women writers, and those about detained women and their sufferings in prison.The result is a series of playful paintings, revolving around physical and bodily pain around the irony of watching the pain of others. Additionally, 4 sound recordings of texts written and read by Najwa Barakat, Chaza Charafeddine, Lina Mounzer, and Lina Saneh, are played from speakers hidden behind curtains.




  

A collection of 39 plastic and glass containers are filled with water collected from natural water sources in Lebanon and Syria, and placed directly in the sunlight. This was a common practice to disinfect contaminated water during the Lebanese Civil War in Lebanon, and the method is still used today in certain areas of Lebanon, as well as in Syria where the war has affected water availability and cleanliness. A typed and handwritten paper, placed behind two large jugs, lists the phases of thirst in Arabic, from its first level “Al Atash” to the most severe, “Al Jouwadou”, that kills, quoted from Al Thaalibi's (961-1038) lexicographical dictionary Kitab Fiqh ul-Lugha wa Sirr Al Arabiyya.




  

À la Santé des Alliés, 2015, Film stills


À la Santé des Alliés recounts the experiences of my maternal and paternal ancestors in Lebanon and Syria during the First World War, and the Nasserite and Pan-Arab revolutionary movements of the 1950s and 1960s. The film is an investigation into how historical upheavals are registered as personal or family traumas.




  

  

  

I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous, 2012-ongoing


Since 2012, Al Solh has been drawing and telling stories derived from one to one conversations with displaced people living in her direct neighborhood; as well as testimonies of refugees, exiled individuals and families. Sketching each individual helps the artist get closer to each person allowing for the discussion to move beyond politics and social/historical events to more personal and private everyday matters. These series of drawings, around 500 so far, are a time and a socio-geographic displacement document.




  

  

  

  

Mina El Shourouk ila Al Fahmah, 2019, Installation views


For years, the artist has been gathering stories told by women involving women’s liberation and defying systems of suppression. The tent, assembled to create a secluded space, includes these stories embroidered into its inner walls ranging from women of all ages to powerful known figures from Islamic history. The embroidered drawings communicate the content from one of the stories included in each tent, illustrating animals as well as simplified women body parts transformed into interlaced patterns.


The Arabic calligraphy embroidered on each triangle of the tents represent the 24 Arabic names for each hour in a day and night. Here the allusion of time is dealt with in a poetical way to give the tents a sense of rhythm, while also indicating the ongoing timely need for women to use their wits as they continue in their struggle for equality. Within the installation there is also an element of sound where a megaphone plays a recording by the Lebanese singer Rima Khcheiche.




  

  

  

My speciality was to make a peasants' haircut, but they obliged me work till midnight often, 2015-ongoing


Following the conversations from I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous, Al Solh takes the project one step further with a series of embroideries. Using these encounters the artist adds elements of fiction to create a series of short stories. The embroideries include drawings of each character in addition to the use of different materials and vibrant colors that visually enrich and complete each story line.



We look forward to presenting our current exhibition shortly.