Houda Kassatly

Refugees’ Camps in Lebanon, the Unsustainable Precarity

Because the Gallery perceives its commitment towards its audience as an act of faith, the faith in the power of art and the power of artist to change our world view, the faith in the courage of women and men in facing injustice, the faith in enlighted breakthroughs, it will join during the year 2020, that of Greater Lebanon centenary, to all Lebanese who fight daily for their present, their future and that of their children. A future that is only possible in the rebirth of Greater Lebanon, our homeland, for a new century of freedom, justice and dignity, and because the creative power of the artist will always triumph over the destructive forces of evil.

Refugees’ Camps in Lebanon, the Unsustainable Precarity, photographs by Houda Kassatly is the first online exhibition of the Alice Mogabgab Gallery. Originally planned in Beirut premises, it took place virtually from April 14 to May 23, 2020 on the website www.alicemogabgabgallery.com and featured a set of 100 photographs taken by the artist between 2012 and 2019 in various camps in Lebanon. Through landscapes, interior scenes, still lives and portraits, the exhibition tackles the major themes of life inside the camps: from the architecture to daily life of refugees, from the identity of the populations to their uncertain future... Houda Kassatly denounces the infamous, questions consciences while magnifying humanity.

Houda Kassatly, born in Beirut in 1960, graduated with a DEA in Philosophy from the University of Paris I Pantheon - Sorbonne in 1984. In 1987, she completed a doctoral thesis in Ethnology and Comparative Sociology at the University of Paris X - Nanterre. In 1986, back in her hometown, her professional life was devoted to research and photography; she was an international expert on the European MEDINA project, a researcher attached to the University of Balamand and the Interdisciplinary Memory Research Unit at Saint-Joseph University, as well as an associate researcher at the CERMOC (Centre d’Etudes sur le Moyen-Orient Contemporain). For ten years, she was responsible for the Information-Communication, Capitalization and now the culture program of ‘arcenciel’, an association working for sustainable development.

Her training in ethnology sharpens her eye on social traditions, architectural heritage, environment and day to day life. This training goes hand in hand with photography, which she has been practicing and perfecting since her teens, making her the first female artist-photographer in Lebanon. In 1987, the photo library (phototèque) of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris acquired a hundred of her photographs. In 1992 the Institut du Monde Arabe hosted her first personal exhibition. Since then, Houda Kassatly's photos have been regularly exhibited in galleries and art centers in Beirut and Europe.