Memory and Artistic Production in a Post-War Arab City
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Katarzyna Puzon’s chapter discusses the Lebanese capital of Beirut as it struggles to emerge from conflict. Puzon explores how urban development projects have brought to public prominence questions of remembrance and oblivion relating to the recent civil war (1975–90) to reveal how official state narratives have avoided engaging with events related to the civil war. In this way, Puzon argues, the legitimisation of the present status quo in Beirut is partially predicated on carefully managed images of the past; a culture further shored up by both the state and those international agencies responsible for post-war reconstruction. Puzon highlights how artists have played a significant role in reshaping collective memory in the city by resisting official narratives and a state-imposed ‘amnesia’. By engaging with various forms of artistic production in post-war Beirut, Puzon explores how contemporary visual and performing arts address the problem of memory in the post-conflict city, especially in relation to remembering, forgetting and reconciliation.