Torn canvasses and shattered sculptures are among the more than 60 artworks on display at L'Art Blesse, translated as Wounded Art. Held in Beirut's Villa Audi, a mosaic museum, the show features artworks that were damaged in last year's catastrophic explosion in Beirut.
Wounded Art, curated by Jean-Louis Mainguy, presents the pieces in a new light. Some of the artworks included have been left just as they were after the blast in August. The metal sculptures Peace and Entangled Love by Nayla Romanos Iliya, for example, bear dents and scratches after they were knocked over due to the force of the explosion. At the time, the works were on view in the lobby of Le Gray Hotel, only a few kilometers away from the port.
On the floor of Villa Audi, even the chandelier is untouched – shattered, it rests on the floor, where it fell during the incident months ago.
Others works have been repaired, though in such a way that their cracks and tears remain visible. Artist Tom Young’s paintings have been sutured, with the threads running along the canvas like scars.
Another selection of works, displayed on the museum’s second floor, were produced in the aftermath of the explosion. This includes a series of nine paintings by Nabil Nahas depicting scenes of the devastation and its impact on people.
The 2020 explosion tragically claimed more than 200 lives and left hundreds of thousands of Beirut residents homeless. It also caused extensive property damage to a number of art spaces and heritage sites.
Recovery efforts are underway, though these are likely to take time. International organisations such as Unesco, along with museums including the Louvre in Paris, have pledged “cultural first aid” to the Lebanese capital to help save damaged heritage sites. The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture has also launched a fundraising campaign known as the Lebanon Solidarity Fund aimed at supporting the city’s art and culture community.
Wounded Art, which is sponsored by Banque Bemo and the Audi Foundation, will run until Saturday, January 16.