‘Drawing Lines’ art book launches in Dubai, reveals Lebanese identity through street art

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‘Drawing Lines’, an art book that depicts the diversity and undaunted spirit of Lebanese identity, launches in the UAE, at Cities Dubai in Galleria Mall on 27th and 28th February 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.

At the launching event at Cities Dubai, hundreds of guests will experience ‘Drawing Lines’ through colorful installations, photos and paintings, from different street artists.

A short film that highlights the author’s investigative journey through the streets of Beirut will be screened. The film directed by Nadine Mourad with music score by Eddy Jazra and Tamara Zantout, brings ‘Drawing Lines’ to life, in a series of intense sensory experiences reflective of memory and its echoes in society. In addition, “The Making of Drawing Lines” was shared with attendees, highlighting the humorous journey to making the film and profiling the director’s vision of the book.

Drawing Lines is available at Virgin Megastores, Antoine Bookstore, across the US and Canada on Amazon and Ingram and will be launched soon in Europe. Visit the  www.theurbanfusion.com for more information.

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