At the Seams | Exhibition Review

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Image courtesy of Dar el Nimer

At the Seams is the first satellite exhibition of the Palestinian Museum, curated by the amazing Rachel Dedman. The exhibition is on at Dar el Nimer in Beirut until July 30 2016, and I highly recommend you don’t miss it, only just to see the building itself which is a magnificent building from the 1930s which has been extremely well refurbished.

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Image courtesy of the Palestinian Museum

I went to the opening, which was incredibly crowded, probably one of the most crowded openings I’ve been to in a non-major museum in Beirut. But that was justified by how great the exhibition is. At the Seams traces the political history of Palestine through embroidery. The exhibition is set up chronologically with dresses hanging alongside explanatory texts and videos. There are also tables with objects that help put the dresses back in context such as pictures of women wearing them. This kind of set up is consistent until the end of the exhibition, where it becomes more eclectic with posters and various objects exhibited. I haven’t had the chance to go back since the opening and explore it in depth but I really wanted to write this review while there is still some time to see the exhibition because it’s worth it.

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Loved this poster timeline

I’m not particularly interested in textile or embroidery, but the easy flowing design of the exhibition and the way embroidery is  taken from a politico-historical perspective make the exhibition a success. You learn a lot without getting bored, and it tackles a range of serious topics without feeling tragic. On the contrary, it puts Palestinian history under a colorful and intricate spotlight.

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Dar el Nimer is open Monday-Saturday from 11:00AM to 7:00PM (5:00PM during Ramadan)

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Image courtesy of Rachel Dedman

Beirut National Museum Review

Images courtesy of Wikipedia

Useful Info:

  • Collection: Archaeological collections exclusively from Lebanon, from Prehistory to the Ottoman Period
  • City: Beirut, Lebanon
  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 9am-5pm
  • Price: 5,000 LBP regular, 1,000 LBP concessions
  • Website

This first review might be slightly biased due to the fact that I’ve worked there for a few months. Still I think this museum is definitely worth visiting. It has two floors, but the underground is due to open in December 2015 and I have some exclusive info about that part (yay!).

The ground floor is where all the large objects are concentrated. It’s divided mainly in two parts, on for the Bronze and Iron Ages and one fro the Greco-Roman period. The newly opened Maurice Chehab room features recent discoveries and is a great showcase for finds from excavations that happened in the past ten years. The ground floor has some spectacular objects, including stunning sarcophagi; and some highlights of not only the museum collection but Lebanese history such as the Ahiram sarcophagus, but I have a preference for the first floor.

Upstairs is where the smaller artifacts are displayed. It overlooks the ground floor all around, which highlights the great volumes and spacious architecture.  Again it’s organized chronologically, in a circuit beginning from prehistory and ending with the Ottoman period as well as a small display of artifacts having been damaged by the civil war. As you will notice in future reviews, I am a fan of museums that have some logic in the way that they are set up, I think it gives them coherence. This floor hosts some incredible objects, make sure you check out the seals and scarabs, the tiny gold vessel, the glass collection, and the ivory boxes.

The underground is going to be structured the same way as the first floor, offering a chronological path through the funerary customs of Lebanon across time. I have had the chance to see some of the plans, work closely with the people selecting and preparing the objects for the display, and even visited the tomb of Tyre, which will be a major highlight of this gallery. Of course, a review will come in due course. Also I am sorry about using images that are not my own but it’s gonna be like this for the first few reviews because I didn’t plan on making reviews when I visited them so I don’t have good photos.

Rating

  • Accessibility (location, price, disabled access, transport links and parking): 8/10
  • Architecture: 8/10
  • Collections: 9/10
  • Display: 9/10
  • Resources (explanation panels, guides, plans): 7.5/10
  • Extras (shop, events, exhibitions): 6/10
  • Overall: 8/10

Minimal Beirut

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All pictures courtesy of Plastik Magazine

All pictures courtesy of Plastik Magazine

This stunning photoset is the result of a collaboration between Ryan Houssari and Matt Crump for Plastik Magazine. (volume 24). It’s meant to show Beirut’s true colors by taking away all the layers that have been formed through everything that has happened in the city. There are also some portraits in the set which you can check out in full here but I have a preference for the architectural features which I just find mind blowing. Also thanks to Bana who shared this first and made me discover it.