Dalloul Art Foundation

Dalloul Art Foundation

HANIBAL SROUJI HANIBAL SROUJI

HANIBAL SROUJI, Lebanon (1957)

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Bio

Written by Wafa Roz

Contemporary Lebanese artist Hanibal Srouji was born in Beirut in 1957. He resided in Saïda, Southern Lebanon, before immigrating with his family to Canada in 1976. Before plunging into the multidisciplinary realm of art, Srouji completed a degree in Social Sciences at Vanier College in 1978, where he explored interests in mathematics and chemistry. He obtained a B.F.A. in Fine Arts in 1982 and an M.F.A. in 1987 from Concordia University in Montréal. Towards the end of his education at Concordia, Srouji accomplished his thesis study at the Ecole des Beaux-arts in Nîmes, where he received a Diplôme National Supérieur d'Expression Plastique (D.N.S.E.P.) in 1987. He taught at different universities in the United States, Canada, and Paris, and in 2010 joined the faculty of the Lebanese American University in Beirut, where he holds today the position of Associate Professor. 

After spending the first year of the Lebanese civil war working as a Red Cross volunteer, Srouji escaped the violence on a cargo boat from Saida to Cyprus, where he emigrated to Canada. Though he was able to avoid the majority of the war, his experiences with the Red Cross marked him forever, and his displacement from Lebanon generated great agony that he would later address through his art. The brutality of the war did not only inspire pessimism in the artist, however. 

At his family home in Saida, his father kept over fifty birds in an outdoor cage, which sang every morning. When a close bomb exploded at the outset of the civil war, the cage was blown open without killing all the animals inside it; as the birds flew free, Srouji realized the possibility of bliss, liberty, or enlightenment through the disaster.           

As a painter, Srouji strikes an uncommon balance between nostalgic, symbolic motifs and colorful, luminous palettes. On untreated canvas, which the artist sees as an extension of his skin, he sets his marks with an amalgam of tools and materials, including fire, calque paper, rust, acid, acrylic paint, and water. Replacing light with fire and figures with blemishes of color, Srouji creates musical visuals inspired by the romantic tunes of Chopin, Schubert, and Bach. His abstract, open compositions are at once somber and playful, evoking both magic and chemistry and suggesting an engagement with the dream-worlds of the unconscious. Sublimation is a given in Srouji's account of artistic creation. He restructures any destructive vigor – be it war, environmental abuse, or societal aggression – into a constructive one, attempting to create a complex, contemplative picture of hope and optimism. In his early years, his paintings were populated with gestural, lyrical abstractions. Following his first exhibition in Lebanon in 1997, he became known for burning small holes and lines into his works with a blow torch. These marks evoke bullet holes, reminding the viewer of the walls of Beirut buildings marred by the fighting of the civil war – and of the psyches of those who lived through it, equally if less visibly scarred. In his abstract compositions, the "bullet hole" works as a shared symbol of a generation of war, to strongly condemn its violence and urge reconciliation. 

In 2009, in keeping with these ideals, Srouji created Healing Bands, long, loose, narrow painted canvases that hang from the ceiling of the exhibition space. These works draw inspiration from Ethiopian healing scrolls, which have been used for over a thousand years as a means of purging evil spirits and demons from the body of a sick person. Part of a more extensive healing ritual, the scrolls are meant to be used in conjunction with plant-, animal, and chemical-based medicines; while medication alleviates physical symptoms, the scrolls are meant to soothe spiritual ones. Significantly, Ethiopian healing scrolls are used by members of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faiths alike; Srouji here suggests a means of spiritual healing that cuts across the sectarian divisions of the civil war to soothe individual souls.

As is suggested by Healing Bands, Srouji's work has long engaged with questions of spirituality, peace, and inner freedom. Especially in the aftermath of September 11th, 2001, which witnessed large-scale violations of human rights in the interest of "security," Srouji began to toy with themes of escape and liberation. In Cage (2006), he expresses his internal imprisonment in a world of imposed western conformity through a series of diptychs reminiscent of Mustapha Farroukh's The Two Prisoners (1929). In keeping with his signature style, Srouji grapples with his somber subject matter against the light, peaceful backgrounds with colorful peripheral stripes and bright petals and clouds finding their way through gridded bars – perhaps to guide us to the strange story of the escape of his childhood birds.  

After three decades working primarily with diptychs, Srouji returned to the Lebanese art scene in 2010 with one of his most colorful works: a series of large-scale vertical paintings entitled Land and Sea, which feature stratified, impressionistic washes of paint piling atop one another in impressions of land, sea and endless sky. These pictures defy gravity as they display depth and distance in three vertical planes, defying Western linear perspective in ways reminiscent of Chinese landscape painting and Islamic miniatures. In his latest works, Srouji reconciles with his homeland, proposing a rebirth of Middle Eastern art that is capable of creation beyond the rage of war.   

Hanibal Srouji currently resides and works in Lebanon. 

Sources 

Buchakjian, Gregory ,and  Sary Tadros . Hanibal Srouji. Peindre le Feu, L’eau, La Terre et   L’Air. Beirut, Lebanon : Les éditions L’Orient-le Jour et Galerie Janine Rubeiz. 2013.

Hanibal Srouji - Exposition Actuelle. Accessed April 26, 2018.http://www.hanibalsrouji.com/e... 

Books of Changes. Accessed April 26, 2018. http://www.hanibalsrouji.com/d...

“Hanibal Srouji | Biography." Janet Rady Fine Art. Accessed April 26, 2018. https://www.janetradyfineart.c... 

“Hanibal Srouji | Press." Janet Rady Fine Art. Accessed April 26, 2018.https://staging.janetradyfinea... 

“Latest News | UK News, Football News and Celeb Gossip | Daily Star." Dailystar.co.uk.Accessed April 26, 2018. https://www.dailystar.co.uk/.

Star, India Stoughton| The Daily. "Walking Backward into the Future." The Daily Star Newspaper - Lebanon. Accessed April 26, 2018. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Article.aspx?id=248362&link=Culture/Art/2014/Feb-25/248362-walking-backward-into-the-future.ashx

Recorded Interview with the artist Hanibal Srouji on 22/04/2018 – available at DAF (Dalloul Art Foundation) .

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CV

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2018

Let us Dream, Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut, Lebanon

2016

Anti Gravity, Galerie Eulenspiegel, Basel, Switzerland 

2014

Tête Dans Les Nuages, Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut, Lebanon 

2011

Cages, June Kelly Gallery, New York, USA
Healing Bands, Galerie Europia, Paris, France

2010

Coming Back,FFA Private Bank, organized by Nada Boulos Al Assad, with Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut, Lebanon  

2009

Healing Bands, Galerie Eulenspiegel, Basel, Switzerland
Offerings, Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut, Lebanon

2008

Wishful Thinking, The Sultan Gallery, Kuwait 
Healing Bands, Espace Derville, Paris, France

2007

Cages, Galerie Eulenspiegel, Basel, Switzerland 

2006

Touches, Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut, Lebanon

2005

Elements, Centre Culturel de Gentilly, France 

2004

Ephemeral, Rahmen Galerie Eulenspiegel, Basel, Switzerland

2003

Sous Le Signe De La Legerte, Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut, Lebanon 

2002

Persistence Of Memory - Oasis, June Kelly Gallery, New York, USA 
Transformations II, fire & color, MMG Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

2000

Transformations, Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut, Lebanon

1999

Books, Galerie du Tableau, Marseille, France 

1997

Notions Of Exile And Memory, Shirley Fiterman Gallery, N.Y. Borough of Manhattan Community College, with K. Jacobs, New York, YSA
Particles, Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut, Lebanon

1996

Marks, Office of the Ministry of Tourism of Lebanon, Paris, France 

1995

Fields, Carrousel du Louvre, Paris "FIELDS", Confluences, Paris, France 

1993

Recent Works, Confluences, Paris 

1991

Forces Et Lumieres, with S. Couderc and J.PH, Hertzberg, Jardin d'Acclimatation, Paris, France

1990

Recent Works, Galerie EOS, Paris 1987 "DUO SHOW", with C. Hachon, Villas Nîmazur, Nîmes, France

1985

Recent Works, Galerie B, Nîmes "RECENT WORKS", Galerie Bourget, Montreal, Canada 

1983

Two Artists To Discover, Place des Arts, Montréal, Canada

Selected Group Exhibitions

2017

Burning Landscapes, by Tania Nasr and Hannibal Srouji, Intersection gallery, Singapore             

2016

32e Salon D’automne, Musée Sursock, Beirut, Lebanon
Bitasarrof, l'exposition à la Bibliothèque nationale du Liban, Lebanon

2014

Mac International, The MAC’s first open arts prize - Shortlisted 2014 – Belfast, Ireland

2013

Syri-Arts, 101 Works Of Art For Syrian Refugee Children In Lebanon, Beirut Exhibition Center, Beirut, Lebanon
Tajreed – a selection of Arab Abstract Art, 1908-1960, CAP, Contemporary Art Platform, Kuwait
Pellicula, Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut, Lebanon "
Vous Avez Dit Abstrait, Exposition collective, Galerie Tanit, Beirut, Lebanon

2012

25th Anniversary, June Kelly Gallery, New York, USA
PRIMITIA, a collection of art, Faculty Show, School of Architecture and Design, LAU, Beirut, Lebanon

2011

Subtitles, APEAL, London, England
Rebirth: Lebanon Xxist Century Contemporary Art. Rebirth was conceived and curated by Janine Maamari in collaboration with Danièle Giraudy, Conservateur Général des Musées de France, Beirut Exhibition Center, Beirut, Lebanon

2010

Convergence, New Art from Lebanon, The Katzen Arts Center, Washington D.C., USA
Zig Zag, Cultural Center of Gentilly, France

2008

Arteum Musée D’art Contemporain, in Châteauneuf-le-Rouge, with Galerie Morlot, Marseille, France
Decentrisme, Municipal Gallery, Ostrowiec, and in Warsaw, Poland
Chosen Works, CCSS of Jamhour, Beirut, Lebanon
Recent Works, Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut, Lebanon

2007

L’art Dans Le Quotidien, Galerie Valeria RUIZ, Paris, France

2006

Europia Espace Galerie, Paris, France
Pinceaux Pour Plumes, Soursouk Museum, Lebanese Foundation of the National Library, in collaboration with Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut, Lebanon
Artists of the Gallery, Rahmen Galerie Eulenspiegel Basel, Switzerland
Les Lauréats, Espace J. M. Mourlot, Marseille, France
D'un monde à l'autre, Collective exhibition, Galerie Valerie RUIZ, Paris, France

2005

Coup d'œil : Passé et Présent I, Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut, Lebanon
Peintres Émigrés, Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut, Lebanon
Peindre les tissus, Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut, Lebanon
RDV CINE, Le Tarmac, La Villette, Paris "LE PETIT MUSEE", Espace Bingen, Paris, France

2004

Hearing Voices: Personal Narratives, The Gallery, at Bristol-Myers Squibb, New Jersey, USA
The Artist View II, Cork St Gallery, London, UK
Novotel Atria, with Galerie Dialogue, Nîmes, France

2003

Garden Of Eden, The Phatory, New York, USA
Galerie Ginette Turpeau, Atelier Barata, Montreuil, France
Cerfs-volants d’artistes, Cité Universitaire, Maison du Liban, Paris, France

2002

Les Vendémiaires 2002, Salle Jan Bonal ; Saint Mathieu de Tréviers, France
Visages Francophones, with Galerie Janine Rubeiz, La Chantreri, Cahors, France

2001

Trans-Pyramid'Art, Egyptian Cultural Centre, Paris, France
Francophone Festival, Théâtre du Paris, Andézieux-Bouthéon, France

2000

Pages 4, Salon de la Bibliophilie Contemporaine, Galerie Dialogue, Espace Austerlitz, Paris, France

1999

Les Lauréats,Espace J. M. Mourlot, Marseille, France

1998

Polylogue 421- Combinaisons Aléatoires, Place des Vosges, Paris, France
SURFACE 1, Galerie Art et Patrimoine, Paris, France 

1997

La Biennale D'issy, Palais des Arts et des Congrès d'Issy-les-Moulineaux, France
Book Works II, Lousdale Gallery, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
French Connection I, The Painting Center, New York, USA
Moi Qui Fait Profession Des Choses Muettes, Galerie Art et Patrimoine, Paris, France
Le 49 ème Salon De Saint Cloud, Musée des Avelines, saint Cloud, France

1996

Premier Prix De Peinture Jean Michel Mourlot, Tour du Roy René, Marseille, France
7th Film Festival, Cité Sociale, Fameck, France
Nord-Sud Nostalgie, Centre Culturel Français, Beirut, Lebanon

1995

Triangle Workshop, Hôtel du Département, Marseille, France
Open Doors, Triangle Workshop, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Luminy, France
Massart Group, Condition des Soies, Cultural Center, Lyon, France 

1994

Symposium de la Jeune Peinture au Canada, Baie-Saint-Paul, Québec, Canada
Tous Les Êtres Humains Naissent Libres Et Égaux...,Galerie Observatoire 4, Montréal, Canada
Journées Culturelles Libanaises, la Salle des Pas Perdus, Palais de L’UNESCO, Paris, France
Group Show, Mille et Une Bis, Paris, France

1993

International Painting Week, Galerie Montmartre, Les Carroz, France
SUD 92, BIENNALE DE LA PEINTURE, Palais des Arts et des Congrès, Issy-Les-Moulineaux, France

1992

12 Artistes Autour D'une TechniqueGravures sur Bois, Centre Social Les Marguerittes, Atelier Joe et Flo, Toulouse, France
la Médiathèque Marc Bernard, Nîmes, France
Le Retour Des Tours, la Tour du Duché, Uzés, France
The Faculty Show, Concordia Galeries, Montréal, Canada

1991

Exposition d'Ouverture, Galerie Citron, Montréal, Canada 

1990

Rompre Le Silence, I. M. A., Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France
Thomas Moore Show, C.D.N. Cultural Center, Montréal, Canada
5 ARTISTS, Galerie Opus 2, Montréal, Canada

1988

Bloc Artists, Galerie Nomade, Montréal, Canada 

1987

4 Au Vigan, Musée Cévenol, Le Vigan, France 

1986

Rencontre D'art, Musée Ingres, Montauban, France            
Expo Resto Du Cœur, Espace Gard, Nîmes, France 

1985

5 Peintres, Galerie Bourget, Montréal, Canada

1984

9 X 9, Galerie Y. Meir, Montréal, Canada
Biennale De La Faculte Des Beaux-Arts,Galeries Concordia, Montréal, Canada

1983

34e Salon Des Jeunes Artists, Le Grand Palais, Paris, France
La Jeune Peinture Québécoise, Le Centre Culturel C.D.N., Montréal, Canada

1982

Le Show, Galerie Weisman, Montréal "SELECTION 82", Place des Arts, Montréal, Canada
Duo Show, with F. Mulvey, Architecture Gallery, McGill University, Montréal, Canada 
Duo Show, with J. Marok, V.A.V. Gallery, Montréal, Canada
Sélection 82, Place des Arts, Montréal, Canada

Awards and Honors

2016

Prix Jouhayna Baddoura, Paris France 

1999

Prix de Ahmed Asseleh, Asseleh Foundation, Alger, Algeria. Bursaries 

1997

Médaille d’argent des Arts, Mérite et dévouement français. "Grand Prix du 49ième Salon de Saint-Cloud", Musée des Avelines 

1982-83

Concordia University Graduate Fellowship of Fine Arts, Montréal, Québec             

1985-87 

Bourse de Recherche et de Perfectionnement - Formations de chercheurs et de l'aide à la recherche, F.C.A.R. Ministry of Culture of Québec

Publications

2013

"Hanibal Srouji, Peindre le feu, l’eau, la terre, l’air", Éditions l’Orient le jour et Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Lebanon

2009

"Hanibal Srouji", Collection Paroles d’Artistes" - N° 2, edited by L’Agenda Culturel, Beirut, Lebanon

Collections

Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon
Saradar Collection, Beirut, Lebanon
Audi Bank Art Collection, Beirut, Lebanon
Tetouan National Museum, Morocco
Ville de Gentilly
Asseleh Foundation, Algiers, Algeria
Bay-Saint-Paul Contemporary Art Museum Quebec, Canada
Alcan Art Collection, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Bay-Saint-Paul Contemporary Art Museum, Quebec, Canada

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Videos

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Exhibitions

HANIBAL SROUJI Artwork

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