Art on a Green Line

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Johnny Alam

Montreal, Canada

On Humanitarian Aid (1980-2015)

Blanket. Courtesy of the artist

My family received this blanket during the 1975-90 wars as part of a humanitarian aid package co-sponsored by the philanthropist Rafic Hariri, who later became the Prime Minister of Lebanon and who was assassinated in 2005. The co-sponsor, I was told, was the king of a country that was supporting enemy factions on the other side of the Green Line.

The work questions the true nature of humanitarian aid and expresses my ambivalence toward a material object of war and nostalgia. The installation reflects the disorder of war and the haphazard Lebanese war shelters. It also acknowledges that speaking of a country’s troubles in another country is, in a sense, a form of airing dirty laundry.