This is the second show with Gallery 54 for Tom, voted 16th in Lebanon’s 30 most influential people in the country by leading Beirut newspaper L’Orient Le Jour. A percentage of sales from this show will be donated to benefitting disadvantaged children in Lebanon.
This collection comprises of 18 of his brutal yet insightful portraits of life in present-day Beirut, strangely uplifting in composition and palette, these monumental works offer hope for the future of ‘The Paris of the Middle East’ and her children. Amongst the work on view will be installations of objets trouvées from the Villa Paradiso and Rose House Projects, conceptual film, as well as drawings by Syrian Refugee children taught by Tom at The Rose House Project. His work can be found in international corporate and private collections, including the Prime Minister of Lebanon and the Director of Christie’s Old Masters in New York.
Since moving to Beirut in 2006, Tom has been working with Lebanese children from orphanages and schools ‘healing with art’, as well as Syrian and Palestinian child refugees. Thus, it is no surprise to see images of childhood in the form of the Carousel and the Ferris Wheel as seen in ‘Big Wheel’, an evocation of the real thing seen from the terrace of The Rose House.
The background of ‘Carousel’ background illustrates the Rose House on the left and Villa Paradiso on the right. ‘The refugee crisis closes in, as luxury towers continue to rise... a mixture of resilience, joy, amnesia and repetition- we keep going round in circles, unwilling and often unable to deal with the root causes of suffering;’ comments Tom Young.
In the title painting ‘Holiday Flowers (Ascent)’ portrays nature softening the stark edges of a bombed out city, with a nod to the Ascension. The Holiday Inn is an infamous 1970’s Le Corbusier firm designed hotel in downtown Beirut, which became the centre point of Lebanon’s 15 year Civil War. It has remained empty and guarded by the army ever since the war ended in 1990. Young is in the process of negotiating permission to paint in, and then organise a collective ‘cultural intervention’ event in the building in 2016.
‘These places embody a culture and identity that must be preserved. My dream is to continue to turn Beirut’s remaining old villas and iconic structures into art centres, or meeting places for other artists as The Rose House was during Lebanon's golden age of the 1960s and 1970s.’ Tom Young.