Wednesday, June 20, 2012

EXHIBITION | Lara Atallah “If Walls Could Talk”

Lara Atallah's Exhibition | Photography by Alaa Kabalan


This post is a bittersweet review, one that blends all emotions and leaves you flabbergasted, one of triumph after struggle. 
Today, Wednesday the 20th of June 2012, concludes the last day of the exhibition "If Walls Could Talk" in "Al-Ayyam" Gallery by the fabulous person and great friend Lara Atallah. It is both an honor and a privilege to start our very first post with her.

Lara Atallah looking gorgeoussss. I mean. Professionally adequate? | Photography by Adnan Mortada

 the work

Lara's photography has always been exceptional, visually striking and socially significant. In this exhibition, her work did not falter.

The exhibition | Photography by Alaa Kabalan

The poignant emptiness in the settings she chose, the vibrantly telling colors all contribute to sharing the stories with us - she puts the forgotten walls on a pedestal and gives them a microphone so we hear their weeping. They deliver, and the stories of abandoned schools speak volumes of class differentials and gentrification. They tell the stories of families removed and replaced.

One photograph of the exhibition | Photography by Alaa Kabalan

the exhibition

We came in early to see Lara Atallah jumping from one interview to the other, explaining the journey that got her here and the stories told in the exhibition. 

Lara conducting an interview | Photography by Alaa Kabalan

Soon after us ran in Professor Marc Nader with an earnest unmoved smile, proudly looking at his photography students' outstanding achievement. However unfortunately, the opening of the exhibition coincided with civic unrest, where protesting people were burning tires and cutting roads. We were distraught in whether to stay and share this tremendous moment with our friend, or to leave for our homes before all hell breaks loose. We ended up compromising between the two options and staying for a while before we headed out. 

People gathering in at the start of the exhibition | Photography by Alaa Kabalan

But in retrospect, I'm not sure whether the protests were bad for the exhibition. This is because the nature of the protests taking place were of the same language of political differentials to which Lara had dedicated this exhibition to. So this was a directly mirrored reality of the statements she made through her photography, manifested in a different way. 

about Lara

Lara Atallah is a name that made its way into our innermost circles, put one next to the other and conjoined the tangents to make her way into our hearts.

circles, tangents, and hearts, for the mathematically challenged | Incredible Artwork by Zeina Shaaban

She went to the American University of Beirut and pursued a BFA in Graphic Design, graduating in 2011. She has since taken on various jobs in design, transcription, and photography. This eventually led her to win 2nd place at the 2011 Shabab Ayyam Photography Competition in Dubai, what gave her the opportunity to exhibit "If Walls Could Talk" and consequently earned her a scholarship for her post-graduate studies in Photography at Parsons The New School of Design, New York.

Lara Atallah at the AUB graduation | Photography by Antoine Atallah

I distinctly remember our numerous conversations, how she told me that her drive to study Graphic Design has always been photography, and that despite all the obstacles (and those were many), she was going to make it. 

And that, she has.

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