Haibat Balaa Bawab weaves narratives of Beirut and its people in her collages and in her oil paintings that are clones of collage. She assembles fragments gathered from popular sources, such as magazines, stamps and bills to chart the fabrics of the city by literally using paper to express her popular iconographies. She composes figurative images using abstract media. From the lustrous and reflective surfaces of the haute bourgeoisie’s houses to the floral and polychromatic patterns of peasants, refugees and beggars, Balaa employs different cut-outs as a signifier status.
Haibat Balaa (1952) received her BA in Fine Arts from Beirut University College now (the Lebanese American University) in 1975. She has taught in several institutions since the late 1970’s, including the National Educational Center for Research and Development, the Young Women’s Christian Association, and the Lebanese American University. Since 2001 Balaa is the Fine Arts Coordinator at the American University of Science and Technology (AUST).
She has participated in collective exhibitions in AUB, LAU, ALBA, Haigazian, Galerie Rochane, Station Des Arts, Sursock Museum, Grand Palais in Paris, Cairo, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrein, Kuwait, among others. She held solo exhibitions at Amateur Gallery (1991), Epreuve d’Artist (1996), Espace SD (2006), Galerie Alwan (2010), AUST (2012), Art On56th (2014) and Agial Gallery (2018). In 1982, she was awarded a prize by the Central Bank of Lebanon for designing a new Lebanese currency.
A monograph of her work was published in 2012 titled “ Haibat Balaa Bawab: The Art of Collage”. Balaa composed AUST publications titled “Beyond the Medium I” and “Beyond the Medium II”. Balaa is a member of the Lebanese Association of Painters and Sculptors and a member in Syndicat des artistes.