American University of Beirut

Art Education in the Middle East - Plateau 7

​​​​​Art Education in the Middle East

Plateau 7 > A post-COVID Return to Studio Arts: An Exhibition by the Graduating Cohort of 2021-22 in the Studio Arts BA Program (FAAH)​

Opening: May 28, 2022 (AUB Rose and Shaheen Saleeby Museum)

Plateau 7 hosted the final year exhibition of 2021-22 cohort of AUB Studio Arts BA Program. The exhibition was curated by the exhibiting students Elena Habib, Nora Basha, Zayanne El Kurd, Julia Hashem, Karim Naamani, Amanda El Bitar, Jisoo Kim, William Okaily.

Students Exhibition Statement

Choosing to study art in Lebanon is considered a bold choice. Art only seems to be viewed as a hobby, a technical skill you can easily learn by taking workshops or watching tutorials online. Going into the Bachelor of Art in Studio Art, many possessed minimal to no experience, and those who did have some technical skills consider now that their view on art was limited. We quickly discovered that you don't choose to study Art to become an Artist, but you choose to study it because you are an Artist. An Art education it is an opportunity that one takes to learn how to observe, research, think, and analyze. Our curriculum forms an almost symbiotic relationship between art theory and art practice. On one hand, our professors do not teach us the “right" way to draw or use a camera, but instead why to use those mediums and forms and how to understand our approaches of Art making. They have also encouraged us to turn our studio from a classroom to an active and creative hub. As a liberal arts degree, students are also encouraged to explore their various interests in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, and bring them back to the studios and into their work and research. On the other hand, the theoretical knowledge we acquire is a strict imperative in aiding students in how to deal with, understand, and create art, bolstering a potential for a future otherwise. We firmly believe that art should bring about conversation. This program creates an environment where various subjectivities, whether students, faculty, or staff, come to interact discussing art and the world. We all possess different interests and distinct characters, but our differences become complementary. We form a community of diverse and close-knit individuals who converse with and help each other rather than compete. This open environment incites young artists to critique, think together, and construct multiple perspectives and ways of thinking and questioning the traditional structures and systems. This freedom allows us to express ourselves freely with a variety of mediums which leads to a major shift in our artistic thought and expression. Young artists develop fundamental and crucial skills such as critical and creative thinking, observation and attention to detail, self-expression, analysis, and conceptualization. Not only has our perception on art changed, but that of the world as well especially in a country like Lebanon that is experiencing its own political turbulence, studying Art brings us closer to understanding our environment, but also thinking with a new mindset. We are graduating today with interest and knowledge in the arts, the sciences, the political, the historical, the philosophical, in our place in the world, and it is because of all of that that we are Artists.

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