In 2016, Gabi and I started a postcards collection called “Bouyout Beirut” featuring Heritage houses of Beirut. The idea was to shed a light on these houses since we felt they weren't having the amount of exposure they deserved. They were at risk of not being preserved due to the modernization of the capital and the lack of funds for renovation. Also, all the postcards at the time from Beirut seemed outdated to me; and I wanted something that reflected the current mix, colors, and experiences of our vibrant city.
This project had (and still does) a great reception. It led to our first solo exhibition of bigger format prints. Then, Beirut Design week and Beirut Design Fair in 2018. We've been lucky enough to reprint the series several times and today, you can find Bouyout Beirut across Beirut’s Museums.
After the Beirut Port explosions on August 4th, 2020 (the world’s 3rd biggest none nuclear explosion that shook the city) apart from the human loss and casualties, these heritage houses got badly affected and were at risk of demolition.
On August 9th, we went back to these houses and took a series of comparison pictures with the postcards in hand, in front of the façades. We left each postcard under its corresponding façade: a symbolic act, a gesture of hope and good will for the city, a common good for its people and the community. Hoping that Beirut and its houses will be preserved and rebuilt.
This follow-up project got a great exposure on social media and multiple worldwide media platforms reached out afterwards to conduct interviews about Bouyout Beirut. You can find related articles over different media outlets like: BBC Culture, L’Orient Le Jour, The Daily Star, TV3 Catalonia and a Podcast called “The Daily Smile” in California.
Following the exposure of this project, the need of giving back to the city in any way possible was very present. We started a small initiative during the month of August, 2020 to encourage donations to the Lebanese Red Cross, by offering two Bouyout Beirut artworks to one lucky donor (chosen randomly). We were glad to send them over to Belgium to someone that showed his support to Beirut and its people.
Needless to say, this project is pretty dear to me, because Beirut is where I grew up, and I feel very proud knowing that these postcards could be perceived years from now as part of the city’s legacy.
- Gabi and Joe
The Daily Star
Al Arabiya English