Hanibal Srouji


Into the Fog - Hanibal Srouji, 2014 - Singapore

“…in the late afternoon, I used sit at the window, stick my face between the two iron bars and watch it come; that huge white mass rushing up the mountain engulfing everything on its way…”

The open space in Hanibal Srouji’s works refers directly to what he used to perceive as a child. Fog seems to continue to materialize and transform in an abundance of shape and form engulfing in his work as this open space… childhood memories are at the heart of his artistic production. The large “Land /Sea ” works, reflect upon the artist’s relation to his homeland, a mountain facing this horizontal ever changing blue line beyond which is the world…   

The works combining neon lights, fire and paint on canvas, make reference to the artist's childhood memories of Beirut in the 1960's and early 70's when neon signs lit the centers of the city. Beirut, for those who remember, was a major cultural and commercial center in the Middle East just before the outbreak of the civil war that put out its lights for more than 20 years...

These works are meant as signs of rebirth - light and color on burnt canvas – should the light shine again, in spite of difficult times. They hang, also, as a tribute to the hopeful rebirth movements that are taking place in the Arab world today

In the “Healing Bands” works Srouji aims at liberating the canvas of the force of gravity the pushes us to see the work of art in a unique sense. Consequently opening the possibilities to “play” with the works and see them not only in the manner that I propose them; but also as the spectator can imagine them to be…

“I consider Art, in general, and the artistic creation, in particular, as a way to personal liberation first and collective then after…”  

The element of “Play” is especially important. It is underlying and implicit in the works.  It is at the root of all creative processes. It is also, in my case, the escape, a positive path out when the world around me had become unbearably violent and hostile.

Play to tackle the collective memory of 30 years of social chaos. Play as a lucid dance between life and death, a light uplifting dance. “Play” opens doors to exchange and communication that goes beyond cultural barriers.