Lebanese painter Zena Assi breaks down her work ‘My City on the Egg’

Lebanese painter Zena Assi breaks down her work ‘My City on the Egg’
Portrait of Zena Assi by Gilbert Hage. Supplied
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Updated 26 November 2020

Lebanese painter Zena Assi breaks down her work ‘My City on the Egg’

Lebanese painter Zena Assi breaks down her work ‘My City on the Egg’
  • The Lebanese painter discusses one of her pieces from a group exhibition being shown online by Mark Hachem Gallery until November 28.

BEIRUT: I’ve been working on the theme of Beirut for the past decade or more. I like to show, as much as I can, what’s happening on the political, social and personal side and put them all on the same scale.

The Egg was built by Joseph Philippe Karam in 1965. It had a lot of potential as an iconicbuilding, but it was never finished because of the civil war. Its walls are filled with bullet marks.

During the protests of October 17, it was reclaimed as a public space. Students, teachers, and activists were giving talks in it. It was a landmark being revived and giving hope that we felt throughout the protests.

I’ve constructed this base above the Egg because we were going through such instability in Lebanon. But there was hope. That's why I loved the stairs, which I emphasized, because you’re climbing up and going to a better future.




‘My City on the Egg’ by Zena Assi. Supplied

At the same time, with the structure, you feel it might crumble. This was a menace for the revolution the whole time: Will it survive? I liked playing with the fragility of the structure, whereas the Egg is solid — holding all this above it.

I wanted to show the contradictions of Lebanon. In the top corner, there’s a sexy woman putting lipstick on and then you have a different side — a history of the civil war and religion, which is one of the main sources of our conflicts. I put wings on people hovering around the city because we always have this presence of martyrs being recalled.

You have all these different cultures mixed up: There’s Maggi soup — very typical to the generation of the Seventies and Eighties — and then Twitter and Facebook connecting us to the outside world.

In Beirut, there are a lot of electric cables. The sky is blue, but it’s not clear. I had this urge to give this dusty feeling to the atmosphere, so I sprayed a haze layer just to be more truthful about the sky above us.


Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi releases ode to Saudi Arabia

Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi is the latest superstar to join forces with Pepsi. Instagram
Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi is the latest superstar to join forces with Pepsi. Instagram
Updated 24 January 2021

Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi releases ode to Saudi Arabia

Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi is the latest superstar to join forces with Pepsi. Instagram

DUBAI: Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi has partnered with Pepsi. The hitmaker who gave us “Boushret Kheir” and “Ahebbak” will drop a new song, written by Saudi Arabia’s renowned poet Prince Badr Bin Abdul Mohsin, as a tribute to the Kingdom. Entitled “Hay Hal Sot,” the new song was revealed on Pepsi’s official YouTube channel this week. 

“Music brings people together – it bridges gaps and connects us with people and places far beyond our language or place of origin,” said the award-winning singer in a statement. “This song in particular, captures our love and respect for the Kingdom, its thriving culture and incredible people.”

Of working with Prince Badr Bin Abdul Mohsin, Al-Jassmi revealed that “the creative process and experience has been extremely rewarding.”

A music video for “Hay Hal Sot” is set to accompany the song. 

Mustafa Shamseldin, chief marketing officer for Africa, Middle East & South Asia at PepsiCo, said, “Saudi Arabia is an extraordinary country – rich in history, culture and arts. The song – a love tribute to the nation and its people reflects the spirit of the Kingdom and reminds people of its beautiful roots in poetry.”

It’s not the first time that Pepsi has worked with a renowned artist — the brand has worked with the likes of Beyoncé and Taylor Swift in the past.