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Micheline Nohra, trained at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts, invites us to discover her exhibition “Whispers of Obsession” at L’atelier by Maher Attar, running until April 23. This showcase plunges us into a fantastical and burlesque universe of half-figurative, half-abstract portraits that transform into strange and improbable caricatures.

The canvases, set against solid black or colored backgrounds, burst with vivid colors, presenting characters whose faces lack features but not character. These clownesque figures from the artist’s imagination serve as allegorical expressions of fear. Their wild heads, often burdened with growths, reflect a psyche overwhelmed by anxiety, a toxic fear that clouds the mind and settles within stealthily.

These figures, animated by a dynamic energy flow, appear to carry an ancient fear embedded deep within, fueled by traumas and doubts, highlighting the fragility at the core of human existence. Through expressing her own fears, Nohra encourages viewers to face their own, creating a mirror-like interaction that facilitates catharsis.

Micheline Nohra uses a unique, vibrant, and daring language infused with humor and whimsy to address anxieties and obsessions on her canvases, blending seriousness with lightness. The phobia of cockroaches and other insects is personified by a head overtaken by a dragonfly or a brain-nibbling spider. The fear of void is represented by a female figure desperately clinging to a floating plank.

A bird in several pieces serves as a bemused observer of these fears, encouraging a perspective of carefreeness and levity.

In contrast, the character of the show-off emerges: the one who taunts his own anxieties, who wears a broad smile edged with a red line that spills over his face, topped with a large Minnie bow to better dispel his fear. The artist’s carefree brushstrokes contribute to this joyful dance, scoffing at all fears and fixations. Like a feather, it floats, spins and swirls from canvas to canvas, sketching light, feverish lines that animate the characters and bring the scenes to life. This fluid and liberated style of writing propels an energy that casts a mocking yet tender glance, inviting self-mockery.

Thanks to this artistic defiance, the artwork stands once again as a call to initiation, urging viewers to embrace a liberating experience. This must see and worth visiting exhibition is available until April 23.