Reem Bassous

Region: Pacific Coast

My work is an interrogation of post–civil war existence in Lebanon, where cultural erasure and assertions oscillate under the prolonged political instability. As a survivor of the war, I unhinge memories of my youth and explore the contemporary implications of historical unrest. I situate my personal experience in a national trajectory.

In the work, the human figure has been reconceptualized to personify both my home city of Beirut and my generation—the locale and its inhabitants share the trauma. History informs my painting process: ghostly figures dissolve into the very material of which they are made, just as Beirut builds and rebuilds out of the rubble left by ancient and recent conflict. I render the ways in which political crisis is internalized with thick layers of acrylic that blur the distinction between interior and exterior settings. Patches of sky and architectural motifs disrupt domestic environments. Focus is shifted away from isolated moments toward the effects of long-term social conflict endured over many years.