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In the myriad exhibitions, theater and music performances taking place in Lebanon, the melancholy eyes and distorted faces in Houmam Al-Sayed's work stand out.Sayed's work is characterized by one figure – a stooped male man with a distorted face, bulbous nose, and wide-set eyes arrayed beneath a ubiquitous cloth cap. This figure is not just a man but a representation of the cycles of religious and political oppression that people from this region have suffered. The distorted faces tend to be facing downward on one side and forced upward on the other – suggesting both a loss of hope and hope of new beginnings.In conversation, the artist notes that one side of the face is shrouded in darkness while the other is brightly lit, suggesting the figure's ambivalence about the future. The figures are wooden, unmoving, restricted, forced to stand still and watch the world move on without them. In "Noah," one of Sayed's figures sits hunched in a boat that barely contains him, one that's stranded on the rocks with nowhere to go.Though the melancholy radiating from Sayed's figures is a little contagious, hope also peeks through these paintings.
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