From a childhood fascination on a trip to Palestine, to a student at Istanbul School of design to a simple assignment during 2006 by his mechanic to draw his hometown in South of Lebanon, the story of Tom Young, the British artist and his love for Lebanon and its heritage started.
He fell under the charm of this county and came back to be settled in Lebanon on 2009. The loss of heritage was his main concern and so he started a journey in trying to preserve whatever is left. Working along with Save Beirut Heritage, Apsad and Beirut Madinati.
As he states in his page, Tom hopes by transforming abandoned spaces into living centers of creativity, he can preserve precious heritage and memory which is under threat from profit driven development and contribute something positive to the place I live in.
He continues; art doesn’t exist in isolation. Where religion and politics divide us, Art offers us a common ground and a peaceful path of expression.
So far Tom worked on Villa Paradiso (2013-17), The Rose House (2014-15), Beit Boustani (2016-17) and Al Zaher (2017) as well as Beit Fairouz.
(The previous information are extracted from Tom Young’s interview with Levantine heritage )
This September, his latest exhibition is running in Sofar Grand Hotel and Casino i in collaboration with the owners.
The Hotel was built in 1890 by Alfred and Ibrahim Sursock; it owned the first Casino licence and hosted important figures in the political scene as well as stars and Singers. , and it was during last year that Roderick Sursock Cochrane, started the restoration of the Hotel. He also contacted Tom to do the first exhibition in the hotel.
During the Civil war in 1975 the hotel became unused; while it was burnt down, the main structure is still there, and luckily some of the furniture was saved.
A miraculous work that will surely transport you to the good old days, a wedding story from here, a Hafla form there, Tom retraced the history of the hotel in each corner, it is almost captivating.
I will update this post after the end of the exhibition this Sunday, October 14th, as I encourage you to visit it. Just here is a glimpse of what to expect!
Captivated by the art, the story, the memory.
Check the location here.