Dubai based artist Magda Malkoun shares her experience of participating in the UNESCO Andorra Art Camp.

I had the privilege to be invited to represent Lebanon in the UNESCO Art Camp Andorra to promote peace and sustainable development through the medium of art. Scheduled from March 14-21, 2022, Jusoor, or Bridges in English, symbolizes UNESCO’s continuous quest to eliminate conflict and rift, and bring humanity together through intercultural dialogue and exchange. 

Art Camp Andorra 2022 was held Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ajman, Ajman University (AU), in collaboration with the National Commission for Education, Culture and Science and Ajman Department of Tourism Development, Hedva Ser, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Culture Diplomacy and godmother of Art Camp Andorra.

This is the first time that the high-profile art project known for its global impact is being held in the Arab world.

Jusoor is a unique and invite-only event for a select group of talented artists in the Middle East and across the world to express their artistic sensibilities in the service of humanity and peace. 

Some of the earlier editions of the UNESCO ArtCamp have been exhibited at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, Victoria Cultural Center on the island of Gozo in Malta, and the United Nations Headquarters in New York, among other prominent global locations. 

Ajman University’s commitment to making Jusoor a grand success, was highly demonstrated with generously accommodating more than 20 artists from the Middle East and Asia and promoting an inclusive environment where every artist shared a cultural presentation about their country of origin and their commitment to peace and sustainability in the purpose of building bridges through culture and art. Cultural visits were also organized through various events in the UAE, visiting expo 2020, Sikka, World Art Dubai, Sharjah Museum.  

Art Camp, concluded on March 21, with a large art exhibition in Ajman University. The exhibition will move within the UAE this year and will be followed by a touring exhibition starting in Paris in June 2023.

Peace and sustainable living are a very close subject to my heart and a message that I have been thriving to promote though my art. My main inspiration came from the recent events in Beirut which were nothing, but a flashback from my childhood during war from 1982 till now. Seeing kids today as old as my kids having to go through the same in the 2020s had me question the reason of war and the price for peace. In a country where “divide to conquer” was the theme all along gives me the urge to document history through my art and help to build bridges through culture and a shared memory of a country to find commonalities rather than differences. Only then people will be united under one identity and feel responsible for one cause Peace.

The work I am presenting is a collage of the destroyed buildings of Beirut in rebuild the city in this strong restless woman called BEIRUT that despite the accumulation of a history of conflict can still rise and rebuilt itself again. I am fascinated by the resilience of this city and compare it to the resilience of women, leaving the viewer with a question: how much is enough?

Text and photos provided by Magda Malkoun

About the Artist

Born in Lebanon, in 1982, Magda Malkoun is currently living and working between Dubai and Beirut. Magda is multi-faceted artist who combines her interest in photography and sculpture in her artworks.
Being exposed to varying cultures and art styles throughout her long journey away from home, she uses different types of material and texture not only as tools to paint with, but also to create forms.

Magda’s body of work encompasses a series of figurative and abstract art inspired by the conflicts and the bonds one create with the places, events and faces encountered while in displacement. Her contemporary work is recognizable with her signature style of painstakingly organized photo collages to form various abstract portraits.

Follow Magda on Instagram to stay updated on her creative journey at @MagdaMalkoun