The Wide Awake Art Exhibition

Wide-Awake-Poster-(Adjusted-No-Dates)
Wide Awake - Raoul Mallat - Amal Short Animation Poster

First Prize, “Amal," Animated Short Film, Raoul Mallat. (Watch video below.) This animated short film follows the journey of Amal, a young Syrian refugee who along with her father flees the conflict in their country to Lebanon. When crossing the Syrian-Lebanese border, Amal’s father is kidnapped and she must struggle alone in Beirut to survive. Raoul Mallat is a visual artist, painter, and filmmaker. After fleeing the war in Syria in 2007, he lived in Lebanon, Ireland, and France. He studied graphic design in France. 

Becem Sdiri - Film Poster - Wide Awake

Second Prize, "Don't Worry Mama, the Kids are Fine," Experimental Film, Becem Sdiri. (Watch video below.) In this film, the artist weaves together documentary footage shot at rave parties, working sessions, and social gatherings with footage from a 2008 videotape featuring children in a nursery in Germany. The film creates an imaginary dialogue between the artist and his mother who runs a nursery in Jendouba, Tunisia. Born in Jendouba in 1996, Becem Sdiri is a multidisciplinary visual artist based in Tunis. He holds a degree in graphic design from the Ecole Supérieure des Sciences et Technologies du Design in Tunis.

Wide-Awake---Chris-Assoury---Political-Talks-Effect-Installation

 Third Prize, "Political Talks Effect," Audiovisual Installation, Chris Assoury. This visual and sound installation criticizes the insincere, loud, and repetitive political discourse we hear every day of our lives, specifically in Lebanon, regardless of what we really want. Chris Assoury is a Lebanese visual artist born in Beirut in 1977. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in in medical laboratory science, she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine art at the Lebanese University in Beirut.

Nesting - Sculpture by Ahmad Ghaddar

Fourth Prize, “Nesting," Sculpture, Ahmad Ghaddar. This sculpture made from pieces of shattered wooden doors and windows and other found materials represents a nest. The work reflects on the nest’s meaning for a Beirut damaged and shell-shocked by the massive explosion in the city’s port on August 4, 2020. Born in Tyre in 1994 and based in Beirut, Ahmad Ghaddar (also known as Renoz) is a multidisciplinary artist. He studied fine arts at the Lebanese University. His work mainly deals with sociopolitical issues in Lebanon, including the economic crisis, migration, and the revolution.

Wide Awake - Mekdes - Film Poster

Fifth Prize, "Mekdes," Short Film, Firas El Hallak. (Watch video below.) Migrant domestic workers are literally and figuratively pushed to the edge in the failed country of Lebanon. Stripped of a passport, a room, a cell phone, and often stare onto the horizon debating whether they should live or die. Firas El Hallak is a Lebanese multidisciplinary audiovisual artist based in Belgium. His audiovisual productions have been exhibited at several galleries, cultural centers, theaters, and prominent festivals. El Hallak holds a master’s degree in Visual and Scenic Arts from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik in Lebanon and is currently pursuing a post-graduate degree in Digital Storytelling at KASK School of Arts in Gent, Belgium.  

Wide Awake - Ahlem Chihaoui

Sixth Prize, “Unfair Verdict,” Painting, Ahlem Chihaoui. This artwork is inspired by a photograph taken during protests against police repression and government corruption in Tunis on January 31, 2021. Born in Sousse, Tunisia, Ahlem Chihaoui currently studies at the Higher Institute of Fine Arts of Sousse.

Wide Awake - Sabrine Trabelsi

Appreciation Award, "Lost Water," Mixed Media, Sabrine Trabelsi. This mixed media work grapples with the growing problem of water scarcity around the world in general and in Tunisia in particular. Born in 1979, Sabrine Trabelsi holds a master's degree in painting from the Tunis Institute of Fine Arts. As a married mother of five children, she did not seriously resume painting until 2016. Since then, her work has been presented in several individual as well as group exhibitions.      

Wide Awake - Mohamad Jaber - artwork

Veteran Award, "Cosmic Transformation," Painting, Mohammad Jaber. The painting reflects the cosmic transformation that has occurred since 2019 and that has affected the universe and all living things. The lines and geometric shapes represent change and movement from cities to villages and to increased social isolation. Born in 1936 in Bwarij, Lebanon, Mohammad Salim Jaber is a self-taught painter. He has created over 700 paintings and has exhibited his works at galleries in Lebanon. In his 80s, he continues create art with more passion than ever.    

Yasmine Amdouni's artwork - Wide Awake

Youth Award, "Through a Rabbit's Fur," Illustration, Yasmine Amdouni. Many experience the world with the same sense of wonder and incomprehension as they do when watching a magician pull a rabbit from a hat that they thought was empty. Isn’t the human being here to understand? Yasmine Amdouni is a young artist from Tunisia. For her, art is a means to express herself, her principles, and way of thinking.  

Muhajar - LGBTQ Tunisia - Bassem Ben Brahim

"Muhajar," Video Compilation, Bassem ben Brahim. (Watch Video Below) This project consists of a collection of videoclips on YouTube and social media networks dealing with issues of gender and related taboos that are usually shunned and rarely discussed, even if they are central to our lives from a tender age. Bassem ben Brahim is a queer Tunisian film director. Bassem holds a bachelor’s degree in image design from the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in Nabeul, Tunisia, and a master’s degree in editing from the School of Audiovisual and Cinema Gammarth in La Marsa, Tunisia.  

Wide Awake - Alaa Minwai - That breath we held

“That Breath We Held," Performance Artwork, Alaa Minawi. This performance artwork explores the implications of the devastating explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020, and the unimaginable collective trauma it caused. For an explosion to happen, the air is first sucked into the source of the explosion and then released with total destruction.  The performance asks singular question: How can we exhale again?  Born in Beirut in 1982, Alaa Minawi is a Lebanese-Palestinian artist based in Amsterdam. His work spans from performance to installations. Minawi holds a BA in Communications from the Lebanese American University and MA in Fine Arts from Hogeschool voor De Kunsten Utrecht. He teaches at Hogeschool voor De Kunsten Amsterdam and is the founder of the Beirut Summer School for Theater and Performance.

Wide Awake - Sami Fakhet - Omega Cherie

''Traumatic Disfiguration and the Birth of the Underworld from Raw Matter,” Scanography, Sami Fakhet. Inspired by a dream, the artwork depicts the birth of existence and its evolution to what it is now. Sami Fakhet is a Tunisian photographer, filmmaker, actor, set decorator, costume designer (for film), and scanographer who lives and works in Tunis. He graduated from the School of Art and Decoration in Tunis in 2019.  

Wide Awake - Rola Jawad - Building protest

“Balconies of Vigilance,” Photograph, Rola Jawad. Days after a massive explosion at facility in the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020, demonstrators took to the streets in Beirut to protest against a political class who allowed it happen but disavowed any responsibility. This picture tells the story of the broader civil opposition movement, from its first manifestations in 2013, 2015 and 2017, through the October 2019 revolution and beyond. Rola Jawad holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the American University of Beirut and worked in the aviation technology field for 15 years. Her photography is documentary in style, often focusing on life and society in Lebanon.  

Film Poster - Hassan Julien Chehouri

“The Last Sunset,” Short Film, Hassan Chehouri. (Watch video below.) This short film, created with analogue photographs and videos the artist over several years in Beirut, is set in a post-apocalyptic future, on the day of the last appearance of the sun. While the entire human population has evacuated Earth, one man in Beirut decides to stay against all odds. Hassan Chehouri is a French-Lebanese director born and raised in Beirut and now based in Paris. He graduated from the Lebanese American University and has taught film at the International College (Beirut Campus).

Wide Awake - Amna Barnaoui

"Plastic Overconsumption," Photograph, Amna Barnaoui. This series of photographs incorporates plastic into classical still life scenes featuring natural objects, drawing attention to society’s excessive consumption of the artificial material. Amna Barnaoui holds a master's degree in photography from the Institute of Fine Arts in Sousse, Tunisia. Her photography incorporates plastic both as theme and medium for staging subject matter.

Wide Awake - Mohammad Labash

"Documentary drawing No. 001," Painting, Mohammad Labash. Created at the end of August 2021, this painting depicts a scene from daily life in Lebanon during the worsening economic, or “cooking gas,” crisis. Born in Dara’a, Syria, in 1989, Mohammad Labash currently lives and works in Lebanon. He graduated in 2013 from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Damascus University. His work has been exhibited at Villa Paradiso in Beirut; the World Bank headquarters in Washington, DC; and the Archaeological Institute of Kashihara in Nara, Japan.  

Wide Awake - Nour Bejaoui

“Trauma Core,” Mixed Media, Nour Bejaoui. The chaos depicted in this mixed media work represents the disorientation and schizophrenia resulting from the multiple traumas of living in today’s polarized and contentious society in which everyone is complaining, angry, or in denial of reality. Nour Bejaoui is a Lebanese observer and artist. 

Wide Awake - Dhia Fadhloun - Film Poster

“Spinal Catastrophism,” Experimental Film, Dhia Fadhloun. (Watch video below.) This experimental film expresses the euphoria from the absence of equilibrium when reacting to the hyper real, which gives rise to an inter-textual discourse in which one simulation makes critical commentary on itself. Dhia Fadhloun, 27, is visual artist based in Tunis, Tunisia. She graduated from the Higher Institute of Arts and Multimedia in Tunis and is currently studying film at the School of Audiovisual and Cinema Gammarth in La Marsa, Tunisia.

Wide Awake - Jomana Sabaa Ayoun

"Faceless," Graphite Portrait, Joumana Sabaa Ayoun. This graphite portrait on white cardboard illustrates how faceless oppression turns the oppressed old and weak. In Lebanon, the political parties control the sources of income, labor markets, and natural resources under a corrupt system. They are responsible the country’s economic crisis. Meanwhile, ordinary citizens are kept quiet by shortages and poverty. Joumana Sabaa Ayoun is a 16-year-old self-taught artist from Lebanon. She intends to study fine arts in college and build a career as a professional artist. She believes that with a brush she can deliver a message, represent a vision, and establish communication in its purest forms.

Wide Awake - Maral Der Boghossian - Saydet El Eshtirak

“Saydet El Eshtirak," Photograph, Maral Der Boghossian. The photo depicts two circuit breaker boxes on the wall of a building running along a narrow sidewalk on a street. A statue of the Virgin Mary stands next to one box. The photo is a reflection on the almost divine important of electricity in Lebanese society in the current social and economic crisis, in which blackouts are a daily occurrence. Born in 1976 in Paris, Maral Der Boghossian is a Lebanese-Armenian artist. She holds a master’s degree in fine arts from the Faculty of Fine Arts and Architecture of the Lebanese University. She comes from a family of artists; her mother Gulen is sculptor, and her father is a landscape painter. Maral lives and works in Beirut.  

Wide Awake - Nadira Salah

"The Autistic Boy," Painting, Nadira Salah. This acrylic and oil painting on canvas depicts a young boy sitting in the light against a dark background and surrounded by several children who look at him strangely. The yellow-colored light overwhelms the boy, who is autistic, and highlights the isolation in which he lives. Nadira Salah hold a bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Fine Arts–Hadath Branch in Beirut. In her paintings, she often uses mosaics and vibrant colors.

Poster does the eye see itself CHRIKI Aya 2021

“Reflection/Invisible: Does the Eye See Itself?,” Mixed Media, Aya Chriki. (Watch video below.) This mixed-media artwork  features a series of analog photos taken with a Kodak ColorPlus 200 camera during the first COVID-19 lockdown and a short video composed of footage shot using both a mobile phone camera and professional camera between 2014 and 2021. Taken on the artist’s daily commute and on various trips, the artwork considers the relationship between the individual’s interiority and exteriority as mirrored reflection. Aya Chriki is a photographer and videographer based in Saint-Étienne, France. She holds a degree in cinema and audiovisual arts from the Higher Institute of Arts and Multimedia Manouba in Tunisia.

Wide Awake - Siryne Eloued - Ondulation

“Undulation," Print, Siryne Eloued. The artist used different processes to create a print of each the two photographs in this work. The result is poetic dialogue between the serene rest of a bird that is supposed to fly away and the patient rest of a spider in its woven shelter. Siryne Eloued holds a degree in writing and film directing from the Higher Institute of Arts and Multimedia Manouba in Tunisia. A multidisciplinary artist, she moves freely among film, video, photography, and poetry.  

Wide Awake - Jacques Vartabedian - Push

"Push," Painting, Jacques Vartabedian. This painting uses narrative and imagery to express concerns about human rights violations and violence in the Lebanon, a country beset with enormous social, political, and economic problems. Jacques Vartabedian is a Lebanese-Armenian artist, born in 1987 in Beirut, where he currently works and lives. He holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and a master’s degree in painting from the Lebanese Institute of Fine Arts. His work has been shown in numerous solo and collective exhibitions in Lebanon and internationally.  

Wide Awake - Tom Young - We want the truth

“We Want the Truth,” Painting, Tom Young. This oil-on-canvas painting depicts a somber memorial gathering on August 4, 2021, one year after the devastating explosion in the Beirut port. Tom Young is Beirut-based painter who chronicles the changing daily life of the city. Trained as an architect, he depicts the Beirut’s multi-layered architecture and public spaces, exploring how they embody emotion and political change.

Wide Awake - Rim El Assal - Lebanese Frida Kahlo Poste

"Daq Khelqi," Photograph, Rim El Assal. This photograph depicts a Lebanese version of Frida Kahlo, the famous Mexican artist who painted self-portraits throughout her life. As she copes with daily struggles of life during Lebanon’s multiple political and economic crises and the COVID-19 pandemic, this “Lebanese Kahlo” aspires to be the change she hopes for her country. Rim El Assal is a Lebanese artist and art director. She holds a degree in advertising from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik in Lebanon. In her art, she often uses a combination of sketches and mixed media to create her art. She also creates acrylic paintings on canvas and wood. 

Wide Awake - Zahraa Aljoundi

"Lightness Overwhelmed by Dread," Drawing, Zahraa Aljoundi. This drawing on fine felt deals with one’s inability to tolerate oppression, despite one’s best intentions. Every citizen has the right to rise up against an exploitative ruler. No one should be denied their basic rights, and each person can transform into a force of dissonance after enduring the abuses of a tyrant. Zahraa Aljoundi studies fine arts at the Lebanese University in Beirut and is currently enrolled in the Beirut Printmaking Studio.  

Wide Awake - Mahmoud Awad - Beirut_Cup

"Beirut Cup," Illustration, Mahmoud Awad. This artwork grapples with the impact of the massive explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020 on the Lebanese people. While the devastated the capital and shattered lives, like the phoenix, Lebanon will rise once again. A Lebanese architect, Mahmud Awad is currently pursuing his master’s degree at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts–University of Balamand.

Wide Awake - Bochra Taboubi - amas de matièr

“Masses of Matter,” Mixed Media, Bochra Taboubi. For this multidisciplinary work, the artist collaborated with the paleontologist Dr. Mohamad Bazzi to raise awareness about southern Tunisia’s rich geological heritage. A series of drawings, photographs, and sculptures translate the ontology of chimerical creatures and the materiality of a world with uncertain possibilities. Bochra Taboubi studied at the Tunis Institute of Fine Arts. A visual artist and product designer, she is interested in organic forms, biomimicry, and the relationship between man and nature.  

Wide Awake - Sabra Ben Fradj

"Flight," Painting, Sabra Ben Fradj. This painting explores the child’s imaginary world and its boundless creative possibilities. Born in 1992 in Monastir, Tunisia, Sabra Ben Fradj is plastics artist. She holds a degree in plastic arts, with a  focus on drawing; a master’s degree in research and the visual arts; and a PhD in aesthetics and arts practice.

Wide Awake - Bader Klidi - Weeping Hannibal

"Weeping Hannibal," Multimedia Digital Artwork, Bader Klidi. This multimedia digital artwork depicts a famous bust of Hannibal but with a twist on his facial expression. Bader Klidi is a Tunisian multidisciplinary artist. While he mostly works with digital media, he also creates ceramics, installations, and paintings. He graduated from the Ecole Supérieure des Sciences et Technologies du Design in Tunis in 2011.

Wide Awake - Khalid Al Hamwi - My Moving Castle

"My Moving Castle," Illustration, Khalid Al Hamwi. This work explores the challenges of being nomads in a globalized yet imprisoning world. It is dedicated to all those seeking "home," whether a refugee or a free-minded citizen of the world. Born in Aleppo, Khalid Al Hamwi is a Syrian artist living and working in Lebanon.

Wide Awake - Lassaad Né à Mahdia

“Awlad El Ghoula,” Painting, Lassaad Ben Alaya. The work depicts figures with strange features that resemble human beings, but are in fact part ghoul. These ogres are a rebellion against the familiar and a transgression of a reassuring reality. They are a motif for anxiety, a question and a reason to search for truth, which  keeps us connected to the real world and puts us on constant alert. Lassaad Ben Alaya is a Tunisian artist. He holds a master’s degree in aesthetics and visual arts and a master’s degree in teaching art from the Higher Institute of Fine Arts of Sousse and a master’s degree in art theory from the Tunis Institute of Fine Art.  

Wide Awake - ElKemel Mabrouk

"Ant House," Painting, El Kemel Mabrouk. The shapes depicted in this work are strange and fragmented and create a surreal scene in which bodies and organs are isolated. The other is a source of danger; even the parts of the body have become frightening. Born in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, in 1980, El Kemel Mabrouk holds a master's degree in fine arts and sculpture from the School of Fine Arts in Tunis. His work has been shown in several collective exhibitions in Tunisia and abroad.

Wide Awake - Jihed Yahyaoui - Unfolded Hope

"Unfolded Hope," Painting, Jihed Yahyaoui. This artwork grapples with dilemma of youth migration in modern Tunisia. Eleven years after the revolution and its promise of “work, freedom, and dignity,” young Tunisians continue to leave the country in large numbers in search of better opportunities elsewhere. Born in Tunisia in 1998, Jihed Yahyaoui is a self-taught artist. He graduated from the Ecole Supérieure des Sciences et Technologies du Design in Tunisia with a degree in product design.

Wide Awake - Mohamed Mezghani

“Nullifying Concessive Sediments,” Graphic Novel, Mohamed Mezghani. This short graphic novel, conceived and printed in early 2021, was inspired by the artist’s experience listening to intense music for hours on end. The digital illustrations represent the individual’s process of introspection and discernment in an immersive auditory space.   Mohamed Mezghani is a Tunis-based visual artist. His approach revolves around digital art and video processing.  

04/05/2022

In January 2022, ICTJ launched the Wide Awake Art Contest, an open call event inviting Lebanese and Tunisian artists as well as artists living in Lebanon or Tunisia to explore the theme “the Sound of Dissent.” The contest spotlights the creative works by those who are documenting and memorializing their communities’ stories in times of instability, resistance, and change. More than 220 artists entered works in wide range of mediums, including painting, sculpture, short film, animation, graffiti, audio composition, and photography, among others. The six winning finalists and three special prize winners, selected by a jury of world-renowned experts, won cash prizes and were invited to Tunisia to attend the award ceremony event and side events that focused on the intersection of socially conscious art and grassroots projects and activism.

This online exhibition showcases 36 notable entries, each accompanied by a short description from the artist. 

You can watch Wide Awake's first-prize winner "Amal" and other audiovisual works below. 



 

 

First Prize, "Amal,"  Short Animation Film, Raoul Mallat.

This animated short film follows the journey of Amal ("hope" in Arabic), a young Syrian refugee who along with her father flees the conflict in their country to Lebanon. When crossing the Syrian-Lebanese border, Amal’s father is kidnapped and she must struggle alone in Beirut to survive.

English

Second Prize, "Don't Worry Mama, the Kids are Fine," Experimental Film, Becem Sdiri.

In this film, the artist weaves together documentary footage shot at rave parties, working sessions, and social gatherings with footage from a 2008 videotape featuring children in a nursery in Germany. The film creates an imaginary dialogue between the artist and his mother who runs a nursery in Jendouba, Tunisia.

English

Fifth Prize, "Mekdes," Short Film, Firas El Hallak.

Migrant domestic workers are literally and figuratively pushed to the edge in the failed country of Lebanon. Stripped of a passport, a room, a cell phone, and often stare onto the horizon debating whether they should live or die.

English

"Muhajar," Video Compilation, Bassem ben Brahim.

This project consists of a collection of videoclips on YouTube and social media networks dealing with issues of gender and related taboos that are usually shunned and rarely discussed, even if they are central to our lives from a tender age.

English

“The Last Sunset,” Short Film, Hassan Chehouri. 

This short film, created with analogue photographs and videos the artist over several years in Beirut, is set in a post-apocalyptic future, on the day of the last appearance of the sun. While the entire human population has evacuated Earth, one man in Beirut decides to stay against all odds.

English

“Reflection/Invisible: Does the Eye See Itself?,” Mixed Media, Aya Chriki.

This mixed-media artwork  features a series of analog photos taken with a Kodak ColorPlus 200 camera during the first COVID-19 lockdown and a short video composed of footage shot using both a mobile phone camera and professional camera between 2014 and 2021. Taken on the artist’s daily commute and on various trips, the artwork considers the relationship between the individual’s interiority and exteriority as mirrored reflection.

English

“Spinal Catastrophism,” Experimental Film, Dhia Fadhloun.

This experimental film expresses the euphoria from the absence of equilibrium when reacting to the hyper real, which gives rise to an inter-textual discourse in which one simulation makes critical commentary on itself.

English