With the resoundingly successful opening of Reza Derakshani’s first solo show in London at Osborne Samuel Gallery, Janet Rady Fine Art now heads to Dubai for Iranian artist, Nilu Izadi’s “In Camera: Yellow House Beirut” exhibit at the Al Bastakiya Art Fair from March 15th-21st.
Working with the camera obscura, Izadi has transformed the war torn Beirut home of the Barakat family into a work of art.
“We are particularly proud to present at the Bastakiya Art Fair a new body of work by British-born Iranian Photographer, Nilu Izadi.” Quips UK-based gallery owner Janet Rady.
The yellow house has seen Beirut through her grandest and bloodiest turns. Commissioned in 1924 by the Barakat family, the building, designed by Youssef Aftimos in the picturesque French Mandate style, is a work of genius, affording a view onto the street from every room–through windows, verandahs, doorways into windows beyond and onto the city.
At the time of its construction, the building was situated on the outskirts of Beirut, with urban planning the city soon built up. By the time the war started in 1982, the yellow house found itself positioned exactly on the demarcation line which divided East and West. Due to its strategic positioning, facing their enemy to the West, the Christian militia reappropriated the interior spaces and views through to build bunkers and snipers nests.
Representing a valuable step in Beirut’s architectural heritage, this building took on a very different value during the war. The worlds of the architect and sniper were intertwined, the latter taking the building’s exceptional layered vistas as a source for voyeurism, protection and mass murder. The gunmen could nest in the bunker’s dark recesses while commanding the street corner from virtual obscurity. The remaining scars of war left by the billions of bullet marks on the walls are a chilling reminder of the terror of conflict.
Using one of the bullet holes which had pierced the stone walls, I converted one of the rooms of the yellow house into a camera obscura installation bringing the projections of the front line back into the heart of the sniper’s nest. The same aperture which was caused as a result of war is now turning back on itself. Projections of people walk across the mass bullet ridden walls, clouds move silently over the rubble and devastation left by war, images are turned back onto themselves, the outside now looking in.
The exhibition will also feature documentary photographs of the house as it stands today.
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