>> related project: Abandoned Dwellings in Beirut

BEIRUT, Lebanon – Photographer, author and filmmaker Gregory Buchakjian was born and bred in Beirut.  He teaches Art History at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Art and is a PhD candidate in Architectural History at the Sorbonne in Paris.

As a writer and art historian, Buchakjian researches and analyzes trends in modern and contemporary Lebanese art.  As a photographer, he focuses his lens on documenting abandoned dwellings that typify the grandeur and grit of the former glory days of Beirut, before the devastating Civil War of 1975 to 1990.  But within his sometimes dark and gloomy images, he inserts the human body.  “I wanted to bring back life that was in these houses prior to their abandonment”, Buchakjian tells Blouin ARTINFO. “I needed a human presence. Why women?, because there is something very feminine about houses… the household is much more associated to the woman's idea of intimacy… and sensuality.”

Despite increased tensions and a damper on tourism because of the civil war in neighboring Syria, Buchakjian is excited about the future of the art scene in Beirut. The city now does not have a single museum dedicated solely to art. But a museum scene is emerging, with at least four art museums scheduled to open in Beirut in the next five to ten years. “This is extremely interesting”, says Buchakjian.   “A museum is a long-term institution, here to last forever, so having art museums with ambitions, expectations, and established curatorial policies, will be an extremely interesting phenomenon to observe.”