Plain Secret/ Baalbeck

The Ras Masqa Artists in Residence (RMAR) and Works on Paper, Studiocur/art invited APEAL to lead a community outreach program in parallel with their exhibition, The Silent Echo, which explored the notions of history and archaeology.

OVERVIEW

Following the success of APEAL’s two community outreach projects, the Ras Masqa Artists in Residence (RMAR) and Works on Paper, Studiocur/art invited APEAL to lead a community outreach program in parallel with their exhibition, The Silent Echo, which explored the notions of history and archaeology and was organized at Baalbeck’s temple complex and archeological museum between September 17th and October 17th, 2016.

The Silent Echo was curated by Karina El Helou and featured works by Ziad Antar, Danica Dakic, Laurent Grasso, Susan Hiller, Theo Mercier, Marwan Rechmaoui, Ai Wei Wei, Paola Yaoub and Cynthia Zaven. As an active partner in the exhibition, APEAL spearheaded a program tailored to engage with the local community in Baalbeck and commissioned Zoukak, a Lebanese theatre company and cultural organization, to run a participatory theatre workshop centered on the issues of heritage, history and identity. Conceived specifically to engage with Baalbeck’s older residents, the program aimed to raise awareness of the cultural importance and rich heritage of this historical region and the interactive narrative project was designed to create a cross-generational dialogue within the local community, to permit the older generation to share their understanding and insight.

The collaboration falls in line with APEAL / BeMA’s mission to make contemporary art accessible to diverse communities across the country and to support local nonprofit art organizations. BeMA, APEAL and Zoukak are committed to the principle that contemporary art, including theater, is an important avenue for reshaping the relationship between local communities and public cultural spaces. Trainers and participants explored the artistic and cultural heritage of the City of the Sun in relation to its contemporary social and cultural realities, from Antiquity to the modern day that included the region’s local dance and poetry traditions, as well as the famous Baalbeck International Festival. Focusing on acting and improvisation, the workshop encouraged participants to refine and hone their story building and storytelling techniques, as well as other skills required for a theatre performance.

The workshops were led by Hashem Adnan and Christelle Khodr of Zoukak, and consisted of 7 working sessions of 6 hours at the city’s Palmyra Hotel between the 6th and the 15th of October. The program ended with a public theatre performance on the 15th of October at the Temple of Bacchus.

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