Escaping the “Road to Black” – Retrieving Beirut

Escaping the “Road to Black”

Karim Maroun, 02/05/2017

In the wake of a globalization that has taken most nations by surprise and that has revolutionized ideologies, many countries replied by fortifying their attachments. Rather than opening up, they have built even stronger defenses to protect what they deem sacred. In such environments, the role of artists assumes greater responsibility as it becomes their duty to wake the mass from their passive acceptance of the status-quo.

Artist and Interior designer Jad El Khoury stands amongst those artists with the courage to speak up. His art evolved from school desks to the street and displayed such unique character that it reached art galleries. His trademark drawings, best defined as “Potato Nose” art depict the untold truth of the societies he lives in and the places he crosses. Through fictive characters that reflect people or places, El Khoury is able to highlight messages that challenge the community’s current situation. For example, his project “War Peace” in Lebanon, focused on the forgotten war traces found on buildings which were revived by his “Potato Nose” characters

“Road To Black” exhibition, C.A.P. Kuwait, April 2016

Today, his main exhibition in Kuwait City at the Contemporary Art Platform’s “Road to Black”, underlines the gradual degradation of the 60’s liberal mentality in Kuwait to the conforming and imprisoning mindset it dwells in nowadays. The work included a live performance and revolved around a woman covered in black. As colors reflect freedom, their gradual disappearance, due to a harsh and ignorant society, clears the way to a still blackness that installs itself around the Kuwaiti women as well as within her. She becomes deprived, obedient and lifeless.

“Road To Black” exhibition, C.A.P. Kuwait, April 2016

“Road To Black” exhibition, C.A.P. Kuwait, April 2016

 

Having lived there for an entire year, and by connecting with Kuwaiti artists such as Shourouk Amin, Ghada El Kandari and Amira Bahbahani or to places, namely “C.A.P Kuwait”, “Artspace” and “Nuqat”, he developed an optimistic view of the country whose art scene is slowly but definitely booming. He hopes to further his projects by tackling such subtle changes in the societies he encounters to mark the hopefulness that is ever present within them but always seems so elusive.