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18/10/2022 à 18:30

Joséphine Parenthou’s photography exhibition Tough Flowers invites us to contemplate privileged moments – sometimes stolen and intimate – and details that surround us in our everyday lives. These glimpses show us the tenderness that we are witnessing, feeling, and giving.

Tough Flowers gives us the opportunity to reflect together on tenderness, broad though that concept may seem. An informal and open conversation appears to be the best way to nourish these reflections, driven by the different visions, aesthetic approaches, or lived experiences of four artists from a range of disciplines.

With the presence of the artists:
Ghina Abboud, Charbel Samuel Aoun, Rami Chahine, Dana Mikhail

A conversation moderated by Zara Fournier, Researcher & director of Institut Français du Liban Deir el Qamar

(See bios below)


Ghina Abboud
Ghina Abboud is a filmmaker. Since 2012, she has worked as a film director, videographer and casting director. I directed and produced five independent films; Permission, Robert, Youssef, Light and Musca. Four years ago, she decided to put aside the camera and be involved in manual labor with the Little Sisters of Jesus, worked for a year in Beit Shabeib Hospital as a special carer and a year in a clothes' paint printing workshop in Damascus, Syria. Two years that changed her. Back to filmmaking, she feels the urge to be authentic in filming as she was when she let go of the camera.

Charbel Samuel Aoun
An architect by training, he left architectural firms and then planted a forest (2007) in search of natural experiences with the spatial ingredients. In his work the medium acts as a multisensory trigger, inviting to explore traces of forgotten languages as tools of being in space.

Rami Chahine
Rami is in a search for balance between instinct and intelligence, control and let go, chaos and order, individuality and collectivity, reality and illusion. His current exploration aims at nurturing collective behaviors for sustainable futures, using the stimulating, evolutionary and expressive faculties of arts and play.

Dana Mikhail

Dana Mikhail is a Lebanese/German performer and butoh mover. Since 2006, Dana has been a member of the Cologne-based ensemble bodyincrisis. She was part of the Open Border Ensemble at the Münchner Kammerspiele, featured in Avignon Festival and the Volksbühne Berlin. For the role of Fadwa in the feature film and Best Movie of the Year Sur Ton Sein - ifab Brandenburg Gate Award 2013, directed by Faraj Aoun, she was awarded for Best Actress of the Year. Dana returned to Lebanon in 2011, to also assume the role of trainer and body awareness tutor in schools, universities, as well as with migrant workers and refugees.

Why Tenderness?

At a basic level, Tenderness is the act of being kind, gentle and affectionate. It can also be defined as a feeling of friendship and – more essentially – of love. Tenderness can manifest in words, gentle gestures, and delicate attention; it can be the act of listening, look attentively, or making a particular type of contact capable of weaving people together. Tenderness somehow represents the most altruistic form of expressing love for another. Through acts of Tenderness, one does not seek personal satisfaction, but the appeasement of the other. Such acts acknowledge the limitations of love and passion, which contain aspects of blindness, selfishness, and violence. Tenderness is perhaps the purest form of true love: it is gracious and safe; it operates without imposing power or judgment.

Tenderness speaks to a relationship of reciprocity: it is something both given and received. However, it seems impossible to understand Tenderness by reducing it, as we do spontaneously, to a feeling experienced among others. Tenderness seems to be at the core of all things. It exists inside our relationship to the physical world, to beings, to objects, to the universe; a way of being in the world and our relationship with that existence.
Through Tenderness, we can open ourselves to anyone or anything, making space for the beings and objects that we encounter. Tenderness as the truth of any bond, what inhabits us, embraces us.

Ultimately, does tenderness remind us of our own weakness and vulnerability - as the moment we accept to disarm ourselves, to give up playing a role, to cede control? For tenderness is an unveiling that implies confidence in the love that we can bear. It is not an inferior or worn-out form of love, but an evolved and calm one, a powerful one, that softens our lives, right when we need it most.


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