Postcards from Lebanon

The first 15 Frames exhibition, a collaboration between Darkroom Birmingham and Beirut Printmaking Studio / Artlab Beirut, 5 years in the making. Featuring photographic works by Paul Gorra, Tarek Mourad and Dan Burwood. Prints of exhibited works will be for sale, all proceeds going to Swiss Medicines for Lebanon.

Postcards evoke the acquisition of a view, the collecting, framing and communicating of vignettes of experience, their messages expressed in a public and celebratory way. Postcards From Lebanon subverts the medium. Tarek Mourad’s picture-postcard-esque images present an idealised and depersonalised vision of the landscapes of a nation long subject to ideologies that hold its people in scant regard; Paul Gorra’s images are part of an extensive and uncompromising survey of the land, their dark irony not to be included in traditional tourist guides and postcards; Dan Burwood’s images span first visiting the country as a stranger in 2008, and his growing intimacy with the landscape, language and people of his wife their children and her Lebanese family.

These images – of and from the landscapes of Lebanon – are scenes from an unfolding series of crises – political, economic and social – whose roots run deep, and intertwine with those of many other regional and global geopolitical concerns, including those of the British state, with its long history of colonial and neocolonial interventions in the region. The photographs are also expressions of identity and broken-hearted love: they trace fracture and beauty in the land we all hold onto, and which holds us.

Ten of the images are accompanied, as postcards, by tweets from Lebanese citizens that present their lived experience, and locate the photographs in an inhabited landscape. The events of the last years – from the optimism of the 2019 October revolution, at which the Lebanese people united against the corrupt and sectarian elite – through the pandemic, the continuing collapse of the Lebanese Lira and the associated brutal economic hardships, the catastrophic port explosion on August 4th 2020 – are all endured by a people tired of being characterised as resilient, when what this entails is their choiceless acceptance of rolling crises whose solutions cannot be chosen.

There will be an artist panel discussion on 13th November at 5pm UK time, at Darkroom Birmingham, as part of Balsall Heath Second Saturday. 

Postcard sets are for sale, from Darkroom Birmingham directly, from Ort Gallery and The Mix Cafe, to raise funds for Swiss Meds for Lebanon, an initiative providing vital medicines to those who can no longer find or pay for them in Lebanon. Prints are also available for sale in editions of 5: 

30 x 30cm  £45

45 x 30cm  £55

For sales: Dan 07779159217 / /

The exhibition is in the Upper Gallery of The Old Print Works, which houses Darkroom Birmingham. Opening on the 9th of October, to coincide with the first Balsall Heath Second Saturday, it will run for 2 weeks until the 23rd October. The gallery is accessible during normal working hours Monday to Saturday, or by appointment, by calling Dan on 07779159217. To find us, click here.