Juliana Séraphim Follow Artist
Born in Jaffa, Juliana Séraphim was among the first waves of displaced Palestinian refugees to move to Beirut, Lebanon in 1952. She was 14 when her family fled first to Sidon by boat in 1949, and then, following their move to Beirut, she worked in refugee relief while attending art classes. Here, Séraphim began producing her most notable works and developed her personal style. After studying at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts, as well as privately with other local contemporary artists, she began to show her work in solo exhibitions and gained recognition within Beirut. She studied privately with the Lebanese painter Jean Khalifeh and her first exhibitions took place in his studio. Séraphim then went on to internationally represent Lebanon in three ‘biennales’ - Alexandria (1962), Paris (1963), and Sao Paolo (1965). Whereas her Lebanese contemporaries tend to take on a figurative style in order to demonstrate the central issues of the Palestinian struggle, Séraphim’s visual language is often characterised as having complex layers of overlapping lines and improvisational dream-like imagery, stemming from childhood memories. In this way, Séraphim cultivates a shifting reality of infinite depth and creation. Her imagery also implies the unsteady nature of a long-held memory of a cherished place. In this way, she transcribes her political concerns about her home through the lens of personal and surreal imagery, while also encouraging the viewer to actively participate with the imagery presented.