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Lebanon through foreign eyes

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Melissa Plourde Khoury

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Cement Garden, one of Plourde Khoury's works on display at her solo exhibition.

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Forbidden Jeans

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Unopened

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Mafi Caraba

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Wire Art

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Milk & Honey

Click on any photo above to view all seven images. More pictures of Melissa Plourde Khoury's work on display.

December 8, 2009—

A solo exhibition by artist and assistant professor at LAU’s Graphic Design Department-Byblos Melissa Plourde Khoury will open in Beirut tomorrow at 6 p.m., and run till December 31, at the Galerie Surface Libre d’Art.

The exhibition features a collection of 34 digital prints that American Plourde Khoury has created over the past three years living in Lebanon. The series of work is entitled “Translations: Perceptions of Lebanon Through Foreign Eyes.”

The images being exhibited are all digital photos of objects that she has used as a starting point to tell a story. “They are all digital photography, each image is of a different object and through the object I tell a story about an experience that I’ve had here in Lebanon,” Plourde Khoury says.

“I love photography and thought it was interesting that there are a lot of images of Lebanon — of its people, its architecture, its landscape and the war,” she explains. “But I think Lebanon’s history and culture are richer than that. I’m interested in still life photography and I really believe that objects can depict a reality that is much richer and deeper than those things.”

Plourde Khoury says her work has been described by others as being sensitive and thoughtful, to which she adds that it should be viewed as an extension of herself. “I see the feeling and tactile quality — I love texture,” she says. “With all of the images I have integrated fabrics, and the idea behind it is rooted in the Arab tradition of hanging tapestries on walls as fine art. Part of the concept of my work being exhibited is that these are contemporary tapestries. It’s digital art, but I feel the tapestry element gives it warmth.”

The project “has taken about three years from the start of its conception,” she adds.

Plourde Khoury shares a personal experience that inspired one of the works, which features a small yellow canary. “I was with my Lebanese niece, she was 4 years old,” she says. “We were looking at a little yellow canary together. She said to me pointing at it: ‘oiseau.’ Not understanding, I said ‘what?’ Then she immediately translated for me, and she also knew it in Arabic. Even though she was four years old, she knew enough to translate for me.”

She adds: “I was humbled by my niece who was multilingual and she was teaching me the word.”

“Translations: Perceptions of Lebanon Through Foreign Eyes,” a solo exhibition of Melissa Plourde Khoury, will run from December 9-31, Monday-Sunday 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., Galerie Surface Libre d’Art. The opening is on December 9, from 6:00-9:00 p.m.


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