Fouad Elkoury

Lebanon’s tumultuous past and the nuances of its social, political and cultural history are aptly portrayed in the work of established Lebanese artist Fouad Elkhoury. Born in Paris in 1952, Elkhoury captures daily life in Lebanon in photographs, videos and installation works. His photographs have striven to document and respond to political conflict and popular upheaval, inspired by time spent at home in Lebanon, as well as Egypt, Turkey, Gaza and the Occupied Territories.

Born Loser, featured here, is part of Elkhoury’s 2008-2009 series, What Happened To My Dreams, which included 32 photographic compositions. The piece juxtaposes an image of a young boy wrapped in a black-and-white keffeya exuding the persona of a rebel, alongside a written biography in Arabic outlining how this boy’s aspirations for higher education were quashed by draconian Israeli exit rules.

Elkhoury published a poetic journalistic account of daily life in Lebanon, Beyrouth Aller-Retour in 1984 and co-founded the Arab Image Foundation to archive and preserve photographs of the country’s collective history. He has held solo shows in Munich, Geneva, Paris, Dubai, Beirut and Tokyo.

He is a boy from Gaza, learnt English by himself, applied for a Fulbright Scholarship, wrote in his application form that the only way to achieve a free sovereign Palestine was not through violence, nor through negotiations, but through knowledge. He was granted the scholarship, Israel refused him the exit visa.