“A Salute to my Country” by Maroun Hakim honors Beirut through peace and turmoil
Maroun Hakim’s solo exhibition at Art on 56th Gallery is a collection of paintings and sculptures over a span of over 50 years of artistic production. Maroun is a well-established and prominent artist, with a Master’s degree in drawing and painting from the Lebanese University (1975) and a Master’s degree in ceramics from Rome, Italy. Throughout his career, Maroun found inspiration from his homeland, Lebanon, and particularly the landscapes of his village Mazraat Yachouh.
‘A Summer’s Cloud (2018)’ landscape painting by Maroun Hakim
(photo courtesy of the gallery)
In sculpture, Maroun particularly holds skills in carving, having worked with stone, marble, wood and steel. Indeed, the pieces on display at Art on 56th are demonstrative of the artist’s mastery of the practice. Two pieces really spoke to me; ‘Symphony of the Female and the Bird (2022)’ which is a white marble female figure, and ‘Trinity (2021)’ which is a black marble piece with symbolic dimensions. The austere simplicity of the forms are reminiscent of the Abstract Sculpture movement in Modern Art (1900s), yet are a testimony to the timelessness of the subject matter.
‘Symphony of the Female and the Bird (2022)’ white marble sculpture by Maroun Hakim
(photo by the author)
‘Trinity (2021)’ black marble sculpture by Maroun Hakim
(photo by the author)
In painting, the artist is exploring his native Lebanon post-blast, post-trauma. The serene landscapes of pre-2019 contrast with the throbbing, pulsating brushstrokes in pieces like ‘Warmth and Ignition (2022)’. The artist is experimenting with city-scapes that, in some places, show glowing embers that could be fire, and abstracted windows that reference the buildings of Beirut.
‘Warmth and Ignition (2022)’ acrylic on canvas painting by Maroun Hakim (photo courtesy of the gallery)
The exhibition “A Salute to my Country” is the artist’s tribute to Lebanon. In his artist statement, he confirms that he will not abandon his country. Even if the wounds do not heal instantaneously, and the trauma endures, the hope that there will be new beginnings, remains.
The artist Maroun Hakim at Art on 56th Gallery, Beirut (photo courtesy of the gallery)
‘A Salute to my Country’ on display at Art on 56th Gallery, Beirut (photo by the author)