On Wednesday, Oct. 21 Michael Nashef hosted a Zoom conversation to talk to students, professors and anyone interested in hearing about his “Functional Resilience” exhibition that is currently being shown at the Martha Gault Art Gallery until Nov 5.
Nashef, who was born and grew up in Lebanon, showed broken, shattered buildings that were a result of the Lebanon civil war that lasted from 1975-1990. Immediately following the photos of these buildings, Nashef said “The Lebanon I grew up in was this . . . The reason I am showing you this isn’t for sympathy, it’s to show you why my current work is the way it is.”
Looking at Nashef’s work, it is easy to see the influence he drew from buildings in Lebanon. His work embodies beautiful, geometric pieces of art that have some spot of damage. He says he was inspired because “the buildings [in Lebanon] were broken but their structure was resilient for the people who lived there.”
Nashef uses an actual gun in all of his pieces as a way to directly reflect the damage that was seen on Lebanese buildings post-war. He says, “I like control in all of my pieces, I use a gun to dictate my damage.” Since his pieces have so much put into them, it can take either one to three months to finish a piece, or even 9 months.
One of the panelists in the conversation asked Nashef a question about him seeing himself as an activist. Nashef went on to say “not necessarily . . . I don’t want it to be but it could go that route. Guns are woven into American culture . . . A bullet could ruin everything.”
After a bit more conversation he concluded his response with, “I think my art is my way to heal.”
Michael Nashef can be found on Instagram @nashefm or you can find more on his website, www.nashefdesigns.com.