‘Drawing Lines’, an art book that depicts the diversity and undaunted spiritof Lebanese identity, launches in the UAE, at Cities Dubai in Galleria Mall on 27thand 28thFebruary 2019. With a rich two hundred-page spread, ‘Drawing Lines’ sheds light on a population of lost identities, with snippets captured through raw street art. Each page of ‘Drawing Lines’ tells a different story, through the works of dozens of graffiti artists found on the streets of Beirut, comprised of both local and international talent.
The captivating photos of street art across Beirut, are complimented by moving commentary, probing into lost Lebanese identity. Artists such as Ashekman, Yazan Halwani, Said Mahmoud and Karim Tamerji, Fish and Benoit Debbane whose works are on public display on various street corners in the capital city, contributed to the art book, and Tamara Zantout, the author and producer of ‘Drawing Lines’, takes viewers on a circular journey that spirals into the core of Lebanese identity.
Existing as a mélange of cultures, ideologies and backgrounds, Zantout, author and producer of Drawing Lines, wanted to depict that in ‘Drawing Lines’. Having lived abroad for the majority of her life, she sought to understand her own identity and attachment to Lebanese culture or that which has been idealized in a romanticized notion of nationalism as opposed to the experience of re-entering the Lebanese sphere. The challenge was to adopt a voyeuristic approach to street art whilst maintaining the duality of the detached observer.
“The book is an attempt to understand how different and diverse local and foreign artists communicate Lebanese identity. I discovered that there are many lenses of observation, and through that lens I saw many circles of identity, one encompassing the other, as the circle expands so does people’s tolerance towards one another. In a country driven by many external forces; its people pulled at all ends by too much strife, we must all broaden our circle of vision and behold through the eyes of the other. Ultimately, it was a search for unity over discord and a call for an internal revolt against the internalized dogmas that have plagued our society,” says Zantout.
Tamara Zantout is a writer, designer, director and founder of the Urban Fusion. With multiple degrees both at the undergraduate and graduate level from Architecture at the Architectural Association in London to Economics to a Masters in Urban Planning, she has worked in various fields some in Economic journalism and the UN and others in the fields of design and production as well as Saatchi in advertising. She has acted as copywriter for several novels and large projects. She founded the Urban Fusion in 2013. She then moved on to create theurbanfusion.com which began as an interdisciplinary platform for artists and designers and now serves as a platform for art books.