jad el khoury adorns brutalist aquarium in lebanon with colorful beach towels
 

jad el khoury adorns brutalist aquarium in lebanon with colorful beach towels

with a rainbow of beach towels, lebanon-based artist jad el khoury presents a continuation of his work in adorning the war scars of beirutmost recently, the artist responds to the area’s dreary atmosphere brought on by the global pandemic with some much-needed good news in the form of joyful street art. the public artwork entitled ‘manchafet el baher’ (‘beach towel’) introduces a vibrant, new breath of life to a now-ruinous structure designed by lebanese architect nicolas yazigi in 1968 along lebanon’s northern coastal city of batroûn.

jad khoury beach towel
‘manchafet el baher’ occupies a ruinous, unfinished aquarium designed by architect nicolas yazigi in 1963
image by danielle karam

 

 

with his latest work ‘manchafet el baher,’ jad el khoury occupies a coastal ruin with a rainbow of beach towels in a spectrum of colors and patterns. towels are suspended along the structure’s spiraling ramp, emphasizing its expressive radial layout. swaying with the wind, the intervention serves to animate the building both through both sight and sound. the artist seeks to convey ‘positivity and life and instilling a feeling of serenity, joy and hope, especially during these difficult times.’

jad khoury beach towel
‘manchafet el baher’ (‘beach towel’) overlooks the coastal city of batroûn
image by danielle karam

 

 

with the exciting, colorful beach towel’ intervention, jad el khoury offers a call for positivity during difficult times while highlighting the important heritage of the site. ‘manchafet el baher’ (‘beach towel’) is designed to shed light on a pre-war lebanese vision of a country filled with public cultural and scientific centers. occupying an unfinished and now ruined shell once meant to house an aquarium, the artist questions the current lack of such centers.

jad khoury beach towel
jad el khoury offers a call for positivity during difficult times
image by danielle karam

 

 

‘manchafet el baher’ (‘beach towel’) is a continuation of jad el khoury’s practice of introducing colorful curtains across the landscape of lebanon. as the COVID-19 pandemic arrived to the area, the artist made use of his time during the lockdown beginning in march 2020 to reconnect with nature, his only refuge. once again, he used his colorful curtains in various locations in the lebanese mountains, to bring positivity during an era of pessimism.

jad khoury beach towel
view of the mediterranean sea from within ‘manchafet el baher’ (‘beach towel’)
image by danielle karam

 

 

with ‘manchafet el baher,’ jad el khoury continues a larger body of work which ranges from public street art to gallery installations across europe. in 2018, designboom reported the artist’s transformation of beirut’s ‘burj el murr’ (‘tower of bitterness’) with colorful curtains, giving the building a new life. the success of the installation — awarded first prize at the 2019 arte laguna prize in venice — led to a series of related projects aiming to bring life and hope to different locations.

jad el khoury lebanon
‘burj el hawa’ in beirut, lebanon
image by elie abou jaoude

 

 

the 2018 project transforms the ‘burj el murr’ a war-torn building in lebanon — after years of black windows. the old sniper hideout where bullets once flew now dances colorfully in the wind.


‘burj el hawa’ in beirut, lebanon
image by elie abou jaoude

 

 

‘burj el murr’ is also known as the tower of bitterness in lebanon. the tactical hotel battleground is abandoned and has, until now, been a sad reminder of the events that happened there four decades ago, during the civil war. now, jad el khoury has given the building new life — a crescendo of color waving to passersby.

jad el khoury lebanon
national museum at beirut, lebanon
image by danielle karam

 

 

on april 13, 2019, the memorial day of the beginning of the 1975 lebanese civil war, curtains were installed on the national museum. the organizations served to imitate the museum’s columns as a message of peace and hope from a monument that stood on the line separating the fighting parties during the war.

jad el khoury lebanon
beirut pavilion at farm cultural park in favara, sicily
image by danielle karam

 

 

on the beginning of summer 2019, the curtains travelled to the rural town of favara in sicily. taking the form of the plastic strips seen on the entrance of cafés in the town, the movement of the curtains gave out an impression of life from a derelict house abandoned because of emigration. the installation represents the beirut pavilion among the countless cities organized within farm cultural park.

jad el khoury lebanon
‘beirut’ at nuart festival in stavanger, norway
image by danielle karam

 

 

later that summer, the curtains arrived to stavanger, norway. the work transforms a heritage building facing threats of demolishment into a colorful, joyful structure, as part of the 2019 edition of stavanger’s nuart festival.

jad el khoury lebanon
‘halle aux vents’ at halle aux sucres in dunkirk, france
image by jad el khoury

jad el khoury lebanon
‘halle aux vents’ at halle aux sucres in dunkirk, france
image by jad el khoury

burj-el-hawa-beirut-lebanon-designboom-06

jad el khoury lebanon
‘roots’ in kfarnis, lebanon
image by domenico ghiroto

jad el khoury lebanon
‘roots’ in kfarnis, lebanon
image by jad el khoury

jad el khoury lebanon
‘roots’ in kfarnis, lebanon
image by jad el khoury

 

 

project info:

 

project title:

artist: jad el khoury | @potatonose961

location: beirut, lebanon

video: george azar

photography: danielle karam, jad el khoury, domenico ghiroto, elie abou jaoude

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