Maria Kassab

Judith & Afternoon Tales 2022


15 Pieces, 30 x 30 cm

In my work, themes of connection and reconnection are existing, reconnections emanating from memories and bridging them with the present. I often use images, photography, as a medium that combines events or testimonies experienced by myself or subjects, I would like to expose. The human connection that inspires me is not only literal, but I rather find the human connection through art, rich, and often composed of complex threads allowing us to dive into the fantastic, the painful, and sometimes the glorious worlds of our humanity. I strive for this connection by re-connecting art to the human condition through historical and contemporary testimonies.

“Judith & Afternoon Tales” sets inspiration from Caravaggio's painting „Judith Beheading Holofer-nes“ c. 1598–1599 or 1602. It tells the story of a widow named Judith, who uses her beauty and charm to destroy a general and save her land from oppression. In this body of work, the artist connects Judith's narrative to the violated women in her home country Lebanon. In recent news, many women victims are being criticized, abused due to a patriarchal society. This fictional narra-tive of 15 illustrations depicts the subject of women castrating their male partners, using Judith as a symbol.

Artist bio:

Maria Kassab is a Lebanese interdisciplinary artist and creative director. She studied Communica-tion Arts and Fine Arts at the Lebanese American University, Beirut. She is based in Berlin and completed her Masters of Art in Photography at the BTK Arts & Design University Berlin, 2022. Her work focuses on the political and cultural climate in Lebanon and the MENA region using pho-tography, image manipulation and video work as her main mediums. Her work has been exhibited internationally most notably in Beirut, Paris, Washington DC, Copenhagen, Brussels, Palermo and Berlin. Her artworks are published in international and local art magazines. She is currently in the process of researching different visual languages while exploring new cultural and social territo-ries. While a photographer would view the photographic print as an endpoint, Maria Kassab sees it as a starting place. Images and photographs are blank canvases in need of materiality. She ex-periments with image manipulation and photography to create narratives as forms of resistance to the current cultural, social, and political situation in Lebanon and the MENA region. Whatever additions, removals, and or edits an image needs to realize a demonstration, Maria restores it. Her work focuses on trauma, memory, and displacement, conveying her irreconcilable relationship with home (Lebanon). Her deconstructive identity involves the decontextualization of subjects and objects from their natural habitat. She states that her work is a resistance to the Lebanese politi-cal and cultural dilemma, narrating the physical and mental transformations within fictitious spaces. Her constructive and deconstructive images navigate between absence and presence while recollecting a timeline of violent events from her hometown Beirut.

Art Residency Villa Empain Boghossian Foundation Brussels, from September to November, 2019
Winner of The Audience Choice Award, 33rd Salon d'Automne, Sursock Museum 2019
First Prize Photography winner of the Boghossian Foundation 2017