Look at them passing! Now, they are the savages.
They go where they want, over mounts,
And woods, and seas, and winds, and far from tyrannies.
The air they drink would make your lungs burst.
Jean RICHEPIN (1849-1926) Excerpt from Les Oiseaux de passage.
“Then the seabirds arrive, attracted by the rotting garbage […]. And then follow the first incidents with birds almost caught in jet engines and the panic caused by the unparalleled proliferation of seabirds who no longer know where to look, between the dump and the polluted river nearby. […] and the seagulls have intruded quite brutally upon our lives”. Suzanne Baaklini, L’Orient-le-Jour 16 January 2017. Semi-Hitchcockian, semi-Eastwoodian, the landscape is Lebanese indeed.
On 16 January 2017, the airline company MEA’s management makes the brutal decision to put an end to the proliferation of seagulls attracted to the rubbish at Beirut airport by having them slaughtered by an army of hunters. The methods used are completely out of line, the images shocking. The Lebanese people are yet again stunned by the monstrosity of this crime. Here, man and bird are caught in a trap. Crime and rubbish accumulate, decompose and kill, inevitably.
The bird, a symbol of absolute freedom, fascinates man who has identified with birds over the centuries. Writers, thinkers, researchers, artists have attempted, with their literary works, their scientific experiments, their artistic research, to conquer the sky: Ovid in Metamorphoses, Farid al-Din Attar in The Conference of the Birds, Leonardo da Vinci in Codex on the Flight of Birds, George Edwards in A Natural History of Uncommon Birds, Joan Miro with Women, Birds, Stars and, today, the little blue chirping bird that has become a true global icon: Twitter. From Japan to Argentina, from the North Pole to Antarctica, caged, slaughtered or in free-flight, the bird is undeniably a symbol of liberty.
Form Icarus to Twitter: Contemporary Allegories is an exhibition of paintings, sculptures and photographs by Alice Mogabgab Gallery’s artists. Daniel Chompré, Pascal Courcelles, Nancy Debs Haddad, Fadia Haddad, Andrée Hochar Fattal, Li Wei, Ludwika Ogorzelec, Emma Rodgers, Takayoshi Sakabe and Jean-Bernard Susperregui unfold their artist-bird wings to offer their thoughts on freedom. In a country where men and birds are easy prey to a corrupt and killer power, these artists defy the agony, exalt the joy of creating and sing hymns to liberty.