Khaled Sabsabi

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Khaled Sabsabi's practice is informed by his experience of living in exile. In the late 1970s he migrated to Australia from Lebanon to escape civil war. Since 2003, repeated visits have inspired a body of work exploring the entwinement of spiritual belief, politics and conflict in the region.

The 33 images that comprise 'Guerrilla' are from an archive of snapshots taken by Sabsabi in 2006 documenting the immediate aftermath of the Israel–Hezbollah War, which raged for 33 days and decimated large areas of Beirut. Each of the photographs has been meticulously over-painted in an act of effacement that mirrors their subject. Sabsabi speaks of this gesture as one of refusal. The long, meditative process of undoing the photographs' indexical status is an attempt - however futile - to usurp the reality they represent, borne of violence and intolerance.

The yellow ribbon that traced a new division of territory appears in each of the images amidst the rubble, a marker of the flimsy contract of peace. One fragment that shows the words 'no trespassing' also provocatively announces the outcome as a 'divine victory'.

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  • Title: Guerrilla
  • Creator: Khaled Sabsabi
  • Date Created: 2007-2016
  • Physical Dimensions: 10.1 x 15.1 cm each image
  • Type: Photograph, Watercolour, Drawing
  • Rights: Contemporary Collection Benefactors 2017
  • External Link: https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/5.2017.a-gg
  • Medium: acrylic, watercolour and gouache on dye diffusion thermal transfer prints
  • Signature & Date: Not signed. Not dated.
  • Artist Country: Lebanon, Australia

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