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Australian art

Contemporary art


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Khaled Sabsabi

Lebanon, Australia

1965 -


Khaled Sabsabi's practice is informed by his experience of living in exile. In the late 1970s he migrated to Australia from Lebanon to escape civil war. Since 2003, repeated visits have inspired a body of work exploring the entwinement of spiritual belief, politics and conflict in the region.

The 33 images that comprise 'Guerrilla' are from an archive of snapshots taken by Sabsabi in 2006 documenting the immediate aftermath of the Israel–Hezbollah War, which raged for 33 days and decimated large areas of Beirut. Each of the photographs has been meticulously over-painted in an act of effacement that mirrors their subject. Sabsabi speaks of this gesture as one of refusal. The long, meditative process of undoing the photographs' indexical status is an attempt - however futile - to usurp the reality they represent, borne of violence and intolerance.

The yellow ribbon that traced a new division of territory appears in each of the images amidst the rubble, a marker of the flimsy contract of peace. One fragment that shows the words 'no trespassing' also provocatively announces the outcome as a 'divine victory'.




Materials used

acrylic, watercolour and gouache on dye diffusion thermal transfer prints


10.1 x 15.1 cm each image

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Contemporary Collection Benefactors 2017


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Khaled Sabsabi

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

Referenced in 5 publications


Julie Ewington, The Monthly, 'The state of our art', pg. 47-49, Carlton, May 2017, 48.

Kon Gouriotis (Editor), Artist profile, St Leonards, 2017, (colour illus.).

Erica Green, Divided worlds: 2018 Adelaide Biennial of Australian art, 'Divided worlds', pg. 16-24, Adelaide, 2018, 21, 78, 79 (colour illus., detail), 121 (colour illus., detail). The AGNSW set (c) is pictured in detail alongside details of sets belonging to AGWA (a) & War Memorial, Canberra (b)

Chari Larsson, Broadsheet Journal, 'Between nationalism and globalism: folds in contemporary Australian art at The National: new Australian art', pg. 11-13, Adelaide, 2017, 12.

Genevieve O'Callaghan (Editor), The national 2017: new Australian art, Sydney, 2017.