The programme “Corniche 1999” organised by the Lebanese Association for Contemporary Arts, “Ashkal Alwan”, got off to a good start yesterday morning on the coast side of Beirut, the Corniche. Until 15 October, the walkers and the passers-by will have the opportunity to discover installations, sculptures and other creations of Lebanese and foreign artists.
The Palestinian artist Nasser Soumi – guest of honour of this event – did not come empty handed. On the contrary, his project has given rise to a shock wave and one can bet that it will continue to do so for some time to come… What if the Rock of Raouché disappeared? How would the people react, Lebanese and foreigners alike? This question was at the heart of the artist’s creation for Nasser Soumi tries always “to study and understand the relation between the citizen and his environment”.
Last week-end, he set up himself with his equipment on the Corniche, accompanied by a team of surveyors. After sticking explanatory panels and giant plans of the project, they began with the site’s study. At the same time, several mountaineers were climbing the Rock with ropes in order to help in the process of taking measures (…).
The French film-maker, Jérôme Martin, who is associated to Soumi’s project was filming, on the spot, the reactions of the passers by and the questions of the most curious among them (…).
After having lived in Lebanon for a number of years, Nasser Soumi left Beirut in 1980 and came back nineteen years later. Hi first visit was last March: “I was shattered by the spoiled landscape and the unplanned and savage constructions” he says. This led him to ask the question: would people continue to keep silent about what is happening if the Rock of Raouché, for example, was destroyed? (…).
Nasser Soumi has always worked with the public: “The relation of the people with what exists around them arises both my curiosity and my interest”, he explains (…).