LAWHA takes an ambitious approach to investigating the trajectories of artists and their works in and from Lebanon since its independence in 1943. In the absence of an institutionalised local art history, artists are often stereotyped according to the agendas of labelling institutions. The project proposes a shift of perspective in approaching Lebanon’s art world by placing emphasis on the multi-dimensionality of artists’ individual trajectories. It investigates (1) the forces that have shaped the emergence of a professional field of art in their local, regional and global contexts, (2) how to rethink the impact of the political, social and economic environment on the art world and its protagonists, Lebanon often being defined by its experience of violence and conflict, (3) how artists are represented in relation to the nation, and (4) how the trajectories of individuals shape the field. The focus will be on artists in and from Lebanon using the forms of painting, sculpture and new media art. The specificity of Lebanon’s history after gaining independence from France in 1943 makes it particularly worthwhile to study the power-relations between artists and institutions at home and abroad. The project’s objectives are to (1) develop a new approach to rethink artistic production from a cultural-political perspective while placing the trajectory of artists and their works at the centre, (2) re-evaluate the impact of war and migration on a country’s artistic production, (3) build a collaborative digital platform and database (DDP) to create a central and open-access repository and innovative tool for future research and preserving Lebanon's cultural heritage, and (4) to connect the scientific cultures of academic research and museums/art institutions. The project’s five thematic clusters and DDP will identify new methods on how to interrelate context and artistic production, serving as a model for revisiting art histories in post-colonial contexts.
This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 850760).
Principal Investigator: Dr. Nadia von Maltzahn