The Role of Art in a Revolution with Chloé Kattar

The Role of Art in a Revolution with Chloé Kattar

Much like every other Sunday, we find ourselves sitting on a long table filled with laughter, chatter, and Sunday lunch favourites. It's practically a sacred ritual among many Lebanese families. We gather around a table for hours catching up on everyone's weekly mishaps and whatnots, discussing regional politics, and gossiping about who saw who and who wore what. This Sunday felt a bit different though. Much like every Sunday since October 17th of 2019. What once was Sunday chatter and gossip, has slowly turned into cries of frustration and painful stories. Today, we find ourselves comparing prices, exchanging notes on different supermarket rates, and collectively praying for better days.
Amid all the craziness, we sat down to chat about Lebanon's current events and the history of it all with the brains behind the Instagram account "@Leb.historian". Chloé Kattar, one of the many instrumental voices of the Lebanese revolution, just happens to be finalising a history PhD on the Lebanese civil war.

  

 

When we found ourselves gravitating towards the news, media outlets, and platforms to keep track of the change in Lebanon, Leb.historian was there, as a little beacon of real, honest and unfiltered knowledge of information. Although born pre-thawra, Leb.historian's uncut representation of events caught a wave of influence throughout the revolution. Kattar transformed her account into an informative platform; providing analytical highlights to connect those in Lebanon to the diaspora and beyond.
The importance of Lebanese talent and their artistic contributions happened to be one of the many topics tackled during our tête-à-tête with Kattar. From how the Thawra took shape to the icons and symbols that defined it, we all agree, the artistic talent that rose; amplified voices, drew out frustrations and highlighted dreams of a better tomorrow. 

 

Many symbols rose during the last nine months, but The Clenched Fist you see above stands out the most. Claimed and reclaimed by various movements throughout history, The Clenched Fist also became a symbol of pride and unity in Lebanon. While its origins are unclear, it bore witness to many movements throughout time, from the civil rights movement to the feminist and LGBTQ efforts across the globe. A gesture that is so simple and powerful has been interpreted by many of our artists here and here as well as our brand Nada Zeineh herehere here (modelled so beautifully by our very own Daniella below).

 

 

Despite the powerful presence of the international fist, Kattar emphasises the importance of the iconography created by Lebanese artists that highlight events unique to our country. For example, the Art that described some of the most significant events of October 17th, 2019, and the power they now hold.

One that springs to mind is when Malak Alaywe kicked a minister's guard in the groin. Alaywe's encounter, though famous on its own, is now inseparable from the famous "3alykom" or "Take that!" piece by Ramsi Kanso. Kattar's explanation regarding the popularity of the illustration is based on the notion that "nothing matches the power of an image." The power "3alykom" holds, is driven by a Lebanese legal system plagued with laws that discriminate against women. The event and then illustrations of it allowed for a new feminist dialogue to emerge on Lebanon's streets.

Just like Chloé Kattar, it is clear as daylight for us here at Dikkéni that Art, a language understood globally, amplifies voices and connects us all. That is the spirit of our Thawra Collection, and before we draw it to a close (Hint: Keep an eye out on our Instagram for more information over the next few weeks!), we thought we would share what our artists had to say about the role of Art in a revolution.

Bernard Hage a.k.a @art.of.boo says: "Art is to a revolution what a shadow is to a body. Inseparable. Every revolution needs its voice, its icons and its look. Not everyone who knows Delacroix's "Liberty Leading the People" knows about the French revolution, so Art definitely plays a significant role in documenting and portraying and in being a shortcut to historical events". We said it before, and we will repeat it, we love him! Support his work here.

 Adra Kandil a.k.a @dear.nostalgia says: "A catalyst of change, a voice for the voiceless, hope" We are with you Adra! Support her work here.

Zarifi Haidar a.k.a @justzhm says"Art is an essential part of the revolution and the subsequent documentation of it. Most of the "Thawra" artistic contributions have been created almost in real-time and capture genuine frustration, anger, and hope. I believe they are an essential part of the collective image of the revolution, an image that has moved many of us and make us feel proud of being Lebanese." Without a doubt Zarifi! Support her work here.

Yasmine Darwishe a.k.a @yasminedarwich says: "Art is just a way of people expressing themselves. Letting out their thoughts and emotions, whether through a song, a collage or an illustration. It allows you to unleash your feelings in a creative way that will resonate with everyone around you." And yours most certainly does Yasmine! Support her work here.

 Help us amplify voices & support all this emerging talent and #purchaseforapurpose