Hala Ezzeddine paints portraits of individual children she has come to know and teach in her hometown of Arsal in the Bekaa region of Lebanon. A majority of her students are refugees who have fled across the border with the eruption of the Syrian war. Rather than studies of isolated personages, she frames her figures within a desolate landscape. On one hand, the relationship between the human figure and nature is maintained by a distinction between foreground and background, but on another, the landscape looms into the foreground and engulfs the figure. Her brushstrokes gesture toward a total abstraction, cutting through the figure and melting it into the textual flatness of the canvas. However, the figure remains prominent in the center of the painting. Out of the fusion of 19th century realism and mid-20th century high modernism, Ezzeddine paints a nature which is subject to the material conditions brought about by human activity – she paints a nature which belongs entirely to our contemporary world.
Hala Ezzeddine (b. 1989, Arsal) received both Bachelor and Master degrees in fine arts from the Fine Arts Institute at the Lebanese University, in 2009 and 2014 respectively. She has participated in an exhibition of silkscreens at the Unesco Palace in Beirut (2008), and in an exhibition organized by Talia’s Charity (2011). She taught painting classes for Lebanese and Syrian students at the public secondary school of Arsal (2011-2016). She is the recipient of the Boghossian prize for Painting (2015) and the Génération Orient prize (2016).