Painter, Tagreed Darghouth, uses abstract impressionism and impasto layers applied with gestural brushstrokes to tackle topics concerning structural violence, popular culture, and the marginalised.
Her modernist approach to contemporary topics conflates far-flung modes of inspiration. Darghouth mines the output of artists such as British portraitist Lucian Freud and controversial German artist Georg Baselitz as well as old masters such as Rembrandt Van Rijn and Gustave Courbet; and modernists Chaim Soutine and Willem De Kooning. Drawing influence and forming connections across cultures and time, she also regularly reflects upon figures from philosophy, music, literature and subaltern histories.
Darghouth studied Superior studies - Painting and Sculpting at the Lebanese University of Fine Art, Beirut, Lebanon in 2000 followed by Space Art at Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ENSAD), Paris, France in 2003. She trained under Syrian-German artist Marwan Kassab Bashi at Darat Al Funoun in Amman in 2000 and 2001. The artist has exhibited extensively internationally. Selected exhibitions include: Arteclassica ,3era. Feria de Arte, Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2006; Subtitled: With Narratives from Lebanon at the Royal College of Art in London in 2011; Re-orientation II, Rose Issa Project, London, UK in 2012; Thin Skin: Six Artists from Beirut at Taymour Grahne Gallery in New York in 2014; and 100 Chefs d’Oeuvre de L’Art Moderne et Contemporain Arabe, La Collection Barjeel, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France in 2017.
Painter, Tagreed Darghouth, uses abstract impressionism and impasto layers applied with gestural brushstrokes to tackle topics concerning structural violence, popular culture, and the marginalised. For the last two years Darghouth has been preoccupied with parallel concepts which have culminated in three new bodies of work: Beirut Silos, The Explosion and To My Father, From Van Gogh’s Bouquets. Working with acrylic on paper as well as canvas the artist continues her unabashed social commentary, reflecting upon that which she encounters on the streets of Beirut and beyond and ushering it into expressionistic figuration. Darghouth regularly connects far-flung influences from literature, philosophy and music to her personal experiences. For the Beirut Silos series and The Explosion series, the artist meditates upon the catastrophic
explosion that took place in Beirut on 4th August 2020 devastating the community. The Beirut Silos series zones in on the transformation and degradation of the industrial silos that surrounded Beirut’s port during and after the explosion. The To My Father, From Van Gogh’s Bouquets series, pays tribute to Tagreed’s father who loved flowers immensely and is a loose interpretation of Van Gogh’s paintings of roses, flowers, and bouquets. Shortly before Van Gogh's release from the asylum at Saint–Rémy he began to paint roses as a process of healing and means of coming to terms with both his illness and himself. As he entered into the final stages of recovery, he wrote to his brother Theo, that he had "worked as in a frenzy. Great bunches of flowers, violet irises, big bouquets of roses..." The three series - Beirut Silos, The Explosion and To My Father, From Van Gogh’s Bouquets - are untied by Tagreed’s immense feelings of personal and collective loss; loss of her father and also loss of the Lebanon of the past that her father knew and loved.
Tagreed Darghouthto My Father, From Van Gogh's Bouquets, 2022 Acrylic on canvas
“He said to me: Sit in the eye of the needle and stay put.
When the thread enters the needle do not grab it, and
do not stretch it. And be happy: for I love only the happy.”
(the Labyrinth station)
Painting of the Silos is not to depict Beirut’s misery after the Port explosion. The misery has always been there. It bloomed in 1975, withered in 1990, but never died. After the civil war, the Lebanese endured, lived along, and adapted. They also managed to keep the “green line” alive, and eventually make it greener. To each their own, to each their bright side of the city. Beirut, the sad and sadder city in disguise.
With a pre-war staged and pitiful nostalgia, warlords dressed up as politicians, imaginary borderlines, allies, friends and foes, the people followed without a fuss. “The Explosion” was inevitable. Beirut, the city finally protested. Beirut exploded.
Painting the Silos is painting our failures and defeat. The Lebanese self-portrait, that of collapse.
“To My Father, From Van Gogh’s Bouquets” is a tribute to my father who passed away last year. He had hope. While waiting for the war to end, he filled our garden with all sorts of flowers. The war never ended, but those painted flowers carry my father’s hope.
-Tagreed Darghouth 2022