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'.
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
© Khaled Sabsabi
Shown in 1 exhibition
The National 2017: New Australian Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 Mar 2017–16 Jul 2017
Referenced in 5 publications
Julie Ewington, The Monthly, 'The state of our art', pg. 47-49, Carlton, May 2017, 48.
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.
The national 2017: new Australian art, Sydney, 2017.
Artist profile, St Leonards, 2017, (colour illus.).