Lebanese visual artist Dalia Baassiri presents her new exhibition “The Harvest” at Galerie Janine Rubeiz in Beirut. The exhibition opens on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, from 5 PM to 8 PM, and will be on view until July 12, 2024.

Dalia Baassiri’s work has been showcased on both national and international platforms. Her first solo exhibition in Lebanon, “Wiped off,” took place in 2017 at Galerie Janine Rubeiz, where her work is permanently exhibited. “The Harvest” is her second solo exhibition, also at Galerie Janine Rubeiz.

Dalia Baassiri, born in Sidon in 1981, graduated in 2003 from the Lebanese American University in Beirut with a BS in graphic design and obtained an MA in fine art in 2012 from Chelsea College of Arts in London. Growing up during the civil war, she questions the relationship with a country in continuous conflict. “How does one identify with a land while having spent most of their childhood indoors?” In her interdisciplinary work, ranging from drawing and painting to sculpture, she finds refuge and answers within the parameters of her own home. “The world of the domestic, from dust to walls and everything in between, has become the most familiar fertile ground for artistic discourse.”

Dalia Baassiri has been awarded by Fabriano, Maraya and the Lebanese Web Design. Her sculptures have been finalists at the 9th edition of the Celeste Prize in London in 2017, as well as the 13th edition of the Arte Laguna Prize in Venice in 2019. She was also awarded by Arte Laguna Prize 12th edition. She has also been granted multiple art residencies, including at Espronceda Institute of Art and Culture in Barcelona in 2018, where she also held a solo exhibition titled Vesuvius.

In 2021, Baassiri was invited to take part in Cities Under Quarantine: the Mailbox Project by Dongola Books. “In this ambitious artist’s book project, the publishing house sent a blank handmade notebook to 59 artists around the world, and invited them to make interventions on them.” The books were exhibited at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar, from October 2023 to May 2024. In 2022, Dalia Baassiri’s artwork Mount Neverest was acquired by Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah, UAE. Most recently, she was an artist in residence at Ashkal Alwan for four months, from May to September 2023, during which she worked on her newest body of work, exhibited in “The Harvest” at Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut.

Dalia Baassiri describes “The Harvest” as she mentions, “For the past 3 years, I have collected elements, mainly wall fragments from the Fayyad Building facing the port of Beirut following the explosion, burnt candles left post-prayers in Harissa, and broken tree branches strewn across the streets of Beirut, cut intentionally to make charcoal for shisha smokers.” She considers these as different forms of “vulnerability.” “They were stored, hidden in boxes, until the seasons returned. Once they reached maturity, I spread them around my studio, listening to their stories after a long-encased silence.”

Through the process of assemblage, Dalia Baassiri explains how these fragments fused into compositions that reveal their intrinsic properties, “Occasionally, they emulate and blend with other elements like chameleons. At times, they become one entity, an iconic presence on raw canvas, a mosaic structure of past narratives woven into the fabric of the present.” Her harvesting journey, she describes, has been long and meticulous. “From dust to ash, to soap suds, to discarded objects… I have always been obsessively in search for fragile entities, with significant stories to tell, which I identify as the raw materials of my work. Once found, I give them a new solid life by embracing their delicacy and strengthening them with adhesives.”

Dalia Baassiri’s obsession with fragile entities raises deeper questions. “This obsession leads me to ask questions like: Is vulnerability contagious? Do we end up becoming where we live? Does a daily life in an unstable environment like Lebanon make us exceptionally familiar and inherently attracted to shreds and ruptures?” She reflects on whether she is perpetually constructing a self-portrait through these clusters of broken pieces, or if the desire to preserve and merge them is a form of adaptation. “As I continue my search for answers, I would like to express my gratitude to Ashkal Alwan for the four-month residency at their new premises in Mar Mikhael, where most of the artworks were created, and to Gaby Maamari for his insightful guidance on preserving delicate substances.”