Head in the clouds

The recent works of Hanibal Srouji, combine neon lights, fire and paint on canvas. The space in these works oscillates between visible and invisible, real and imaginary. The materials used make reference to childhood memories in 1960s and early 70s Beirut, when neon signs illuminated the center of the city. Beirut was the cultural and commercial heart of the Middle East till the outbreak of the civil war that extinguished its lights for more than 20 years...

Yet, more directly, the neon works are, in Hanibal Srouji’s eyes, homage to the artists, workers and artisans who were part of that cultural and social rise. More particularly, the artist pays tribute to his uncles Eduard Akel and Victor Essayan, neon glass master and artist-designer.

These works are meant as signs of rebirth - light and color on burnt canvas. The light should shine again, in spite of difficult times!
They hang, also, as a tribute to the hopeful rebirth movements that are taking place in the Arab world today. The energies are in motion and changes are in obligatory oscillation. What remains is the hope that any change is a positive one.

Hanibal Srouji also presents, in this exhibition, pieces of the Terre-Mer series. These canvases have anticipated his return to Lebanon, where the ambiguous relationship between land, sea and sky echoes meditations on the idea of departure and return.

This reality has largely influenced the life and the work of the artist.