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Ras Masqa Artists in Residence (RMAR)

As part of its ‘Museum in the Making’ initiative, APEAL (Association for the Promotion and Exhibition of the Arts in Lebanon) organized a one-month artists-in-residence program that took place from March 18 to April 18, 2016, in the north Lebanese village of Ras Masqa in collaboration with the Temporary Art Platform (T.A.P)

The program focused on the theme of art education and used taking the village of Ras Masqa and its surroundings as the site of exploration. An open call led to the selection of six participants by the jury. Learn more about the artists here.

The residency

The six participants conducted research and implemented proposals during their month-long stay in the village, giving greater time and depth to exploring the local context. Proposals addressed the context and used a participatory approach to create an access point for the public to engage with the art. Taken outside the urban context, the participatory nature of the projects led to the development of greater awareness of contemporary art, while engaging with the different communities of the village. Areas explored included the question of how pedagogy can emerge through contemporary artistic practice, how projects can create a wider awareness of contemporary art within a rural community, and, in turn, how a rural community can inform a project.

Parallel events took place with the residency’s partners – the Lebanese University, Institute of Fine Arts (North Branch) - in the village and included a public series of lectures, events, workshops targeting university students and the local communities. The program was tailored to meet the needs of the artists in residence and the students alike, thus creating bridges between the informal education format of artistic practice and research and the academic program of the Lebanese University. You can read further details here.

The residency provided participants with a proper working environment and support on both the production and curatorial levels in order to develop or complete their projects. Most importantly, it offered liaison with a network of partners for engagement with the village’s different communities. The public program further enriched the residency through discursive input, which was based upon and developed according to the projects proposed by the participants. The artists were presented with numerous opportunities to explore Ras Maqsa and interact with its inhabitants. This included visits to the village’s industrial zone and tours of several factories that produce tissue paper, traditional sweets and flour. They were also taken on a tour of Tripoli. In addition to the field trips, participants had working sessions with prominent Lebanese artists, who visited the residency. Some participants also led workshops with university students and residents from the village.

The participants decided to organize an Open Studio day to mark the last day of the residency. This allowed them to present the research and experiments they had undertaken during the course of the month, as some of them had worked on site-specific projects. The Open Studio was particularly successful and lead to great deal of interaction and exchange between people of different background, ages, and generations. The Open Studio program can be downloaded here.

The artists also submitted contributions to Ibraaz, where more details about the works produced in the residency are available.

About Ras Masqa

The village of Ras Masqa is located on the outskirts of Lebanon’s second largest city, Tripoli. In Arabic, its name refers to the numerous springs in the area and the village overlooks the Abi Halka Al-Fawwar spring, which provides water to the city. Two hundred years ago, the southern part of the village was first settled by Christians and today, the village is mixed, divided geographically between a Southern and Northern part inhabited by Christians and Muslims, respectively. Currently, about 70% of Ras Masqa’s residents are of Tripolitan origin, the result of a slow but increasing migration over the course of the last decade.

These days, urban expansion has effectively made it a suburb of Tripoli but it still retains a rural identity. Located near the Northern Highway close to the sea, Ras Maqsa is growing increasingly industrial and the suburban area of which it now forms a part, Bahsas, is know as an industrial area. The village is also home to a number of important higher educational institutions and a mix of public and private schools as well as health and social institutions.

Ali El-Darsa

Born in 1983 // Beirut, Lebanon.
Ali El-Darsa lives and works between Berlin, Toronto and Montreal. He holds a Master of Visual Studies (MVS Studio) from Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Intermedia/Cyberarts from Concordia University, Montreal. His work in video, installation, performance and printmaking, deals with issues of identity, concepts of the self and personal histories – examined within the margins of public and private structures. His interdisciplinary research in performance often manifests in forms of happenings, durational and gestural, endurance and site-specific works. Language plays an important part in El-Darsa’s work as a medium of examination, reexamination, mediation and reflection that often questions the specificity of print and electronic media at hand and their crucial part in creating networked, mediated memories and narratives.


Ieva Saudargaité

Born in 1988 // Tauragé, Lithuania
Ieva Saudargaité is an architect and self-taught photographer who lives and works in Beirut. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the Lebanese American University.
Raised by Lebanese/Lithuanian parents across Lithuania, U.A.E. and Lebanon, she has developed a particular interest in the semiotics of the built environment and the question of ‘territory’. Her artistic approach is often conceptual and inspired by architectural practice.


Myriam Boulos

Born in 1992 // Beirut, Lebanon
Myriam Boulos graduated with a Masters degree in Photography from the Lebanese Academy of fine arts (ALBA), in 2015. During her studies, she focused on nocturnal outings in Beirut as well as on the micro societies composed of immigrant houseworkers. Her approach is a mix of report and personal research. She is all at once discovering her country, Lebanon, and striving to define how she belongs to it and to her city, Beirut.
Myriam took part in several collective exhibitions, including Photomed, Beirut Art Fair, and Common Fest, among others. She was awarded the Byblos Bank Award for Photography in 2014, which lead her to do her first solo exhibition at the Byblos Bank in April 2015.
She is also part of the Gemini Collective (Michèle Standjofski, Laura-Joy Boulos and herself) with whom she exhibited their first project, Dirsorder(s) in Beirut, at the Galerie Janine Rubeiz in October 2015.

Petra Serhal

Born in 1983 // Beirut, Lebanon
Petra Serhal is a Lebanese artist who lives and works in Lebanon. She is a performance maker, writer and producer, a performer and an actress. She graduated from the Theatre Department in the Lebanese University, Institute of Fine Arts with a Diploma Higher Studies in Acting (2005). Lately, she received her MA Body in Performance (2015) from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, UK.
Throughout her career, she collaborated with multidisciplinary artists and filmmakers. She is an award-winning actress (2013) for her role in the web series Fasateen at the Marseilles Web Festival. In 2010, she started her collaboration with Dictaphone Group, a research and performance collective that creates live performances based on research on space. In her practice, Petra is interested in the performativity of the choreographed body, and the representation of the violated and eradicated body, as well as how to create an original interactive space with the audience.

Raymond Gemayel

Raymond Gemayel graduated from Glendon College in 2009 and was a participant in Ashkal Alwan’s home workspace program between 2013 and 2015.
During the day, raymond stares at the sun with the help of his binoculars. at night, he has a hard time seeing and/or hearing.

Youmna Geday

Youmna Geday graduated with a Masters degree in Photography from the National School of Photography in Arles, in 2014. She focuses on understanding the conflicts between eastern and western civilisations by questioning the definition and sources of images of each culture.
Her research leads her to the fields of astrology, history, medicine, politics and religion, using these tools to untangle contemporary issues she identifies herself to. She considers her practice as a way of drawing her own genealogical tree, by going back and forth from her own experiences to historical events that she links to the construction of her identity.
She is interested in connecting the countries she has lived in to the history of the Lebanese diaspora, with a greater concern for the notion of Home. She moved to Lebanon in 2014 in order to obtain a better understanding of a land she identified herself to.
Youmna is a multidisciplinary artist working with installation, photography, video, and documentation.

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