Artist Statement #16

Paint, canvas, and paintbrushes are the tools that enable me to participate in non-violent resistance.

Through painting, I confront the increasingly patriarchal, conservative and environmentally irresponsible systems imposed on us, whether in Beirut or New York. 

Since my first solo show, I Dreamt of a City where Roofs are made of Grass and Sheep are just Clouds, at Artlab – Beirut in 2013, I went from exploring the identity of Beirut and defending its heritage to, in my second show They’ve hidden the Sea from Me at Aïda Cherfan Fine Art in 2015, focusing on defending Lebanon’s coastline from the barbaric invasion of ultramodern spiritless towers.  

The City Screams, my 3rdsolo show at Aïda Cherfan Fine Art (2017), communicated almost exclusively environmental concerns. This series of paintings was born out of the garbage crisis that occurred in Lebanon and is still not entirely resolved.

A Melody of Blue (Artlab, 2019) allowed me to move in inurbane ways, combining my passion for music, I am also a DJ, along with my love for writing and urge to paint. 

Colors are of a primordial importance to my work because not only do they reflect both the natural and industrialized world but they are, more importantly, a path leading to a higher dimension, whether spiritually or intellectually. 

I paint frantically; it is my way of injecting a small, perhaps insignificant dose of poetry into the blue – poetry, a stripping down of things to their essence, a greatly needed force to pull the world back towards a more elevated state. 

In my last exhibition, I introduced human figures, specifically of the singers/musicians – mostly women – behind the music. And through my recent drawings, I was able to verify the direction my hand was moving towards. 

Tentatively titled ‘Women, on Top’, my next series aims, so far, at reintegrating valor, liberty, elegance, grandeur and eroticism to the historically opposite portrayals of women. 

It began with a drawing entitled ‘Lady Gulliver’ and I’ve just finished ‘Salomé’. I take time to reflect and reconstruct after each show before setting a new trajectory. I am now back in my creative bubble… 


September, Bikfaya.

Published by Vanessa

« Vanessa Gemayel met en scène sa ville, son Beyrouth qui dans ses premières œuvres envahit toute la toile rendue lumineuse par la richesse des façades de pierreries... parure de princesse orientale.
Mais, lucide, elle connaît aussi les coulisses derrière le décor séducteur, les bouts de ficelle, les rouages de la machinerie qui peut faire passer l’éclairage de la scène du bleu roi au bleu nuit… »

- Extrait du texte du critique et historien d’art Jean-Dominique Jacquemond, Du Bleu Roi au Bleu Nuit, pour l’exposition On m’a caché la mer à la galerie Aïda Cherfan Fine Art, Novembre 2015.