Born Among Mirrors

Lebanon 50 Years After

For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Jeffers
(415) 557-4282; mjeffers@sfpl.org

August 22, 2012

Born Among Mirrors: Lebanon 50 Years After

Documentary Photographs from Lebanon on View
at San Francisco Main Library

Photo of Children Photographer Najib Joe Hakim turned his camera lens on his birthplace, Beirut, Lebanon, a country he hadn’t visited in 30 years. When he documents in his photographs is a poignant exploration of a people and a place, determined to exist, despite the wars and unrest that have ravaged Lebanon. The San Francisco Public Library is pleased to present the exhibition, Born Among Mirrors: Lebanon 50 Years After, which will be on view August 25 through Nov. 4, in the Main Library’s Jewett Gallery, 100 Larkin St., Lower Level, San Francisco.

In October 2006 Najib Joe Hakim visited his birthplace: Beirut, Lebanon. Three months had passed since the latest war with Israel had destroyed much of the country.  Hakim didn’t go to document the destruction: those images had made the nightly news ten times over. Instead, he went looking for what persisted in the land where he was born. Fifty years had passed since Hakim’s family left Lebanon for America, his parents as refugees from Palestine, he and his brother as babes-in-arms. Thirty years had passed since his last visit.  In that time, Lebanon had suffered a long civil war, several Israeli invasions, Syrian and Israeli occupation, rebuilding and re-destroying.

As the photographs illustrate, Hakim encountered what seemingly cannot be destroyed: the character of a resilient people who defied their savage and surreal world as they picked up the pieces, built devotional altars to their gods and heroes, and went about their routines—every cup of coffee enjoyed, every candle lit, every cigarette smoked, an affirmation of their will to survive. Like fishermen daily repairing their nets, the Lebanese were already rebuilding—yet again. Hakim found their undiminished resolve inspiring.

In honor of the exhibition, the Library will be hosting a gallery tour with Hakim on Sept. 19 and an Arab American literature event on Oct. 30. The exhibit and programs are co-sponsored by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, the Arab American Heritage Festival and the Arab Cultural and Community Center.

Related Programs:

Meet the Artist: Najib Joe HakimSept. 19, 6 p.m. Talk and Gallery Tour, San Francisco Main Library, Jewett Gallery, Lower Level, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco.

Arab American Literature – Oct. 30, 6:30 p.m., Palestine-American author Soha Al-Jurf discusses her book Even My Voice is Silence.  Main Library, Lower  Level, Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco

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