AUB Libraries Online Exhibits

Manoug's Magic Lantern: Seven “Pastoral” Scenes

The construction of the Lebanese national “imagined community” will be explored in this exhibition by the display of selected photos from the Manoug's pre-war oeuvre (1940s-1970s) that comprise seven different themes:

  • The Lebanese Village: idealized and romanticized nostalgic visions of the village
  • Water and Nature: a view of the “green Lebanon”, an idealized and  coveted location in the midst of a dry region, with nature as Mother Earth blessing the “land of milk and honey”
  • Breathtaking Coast: the sea and shore as a vehicle for dreaming of endless possibilities, openness, and future promises; ancient city ports as Lebanon's “bridge between the Orient and the Occident”, and as a “link between the Ancient and Modern Worlds”
  • The Popular and Folkloric: entertainers, entertainments, and crafts, such as the “Lebanese nights” at Baalbeck, and the Rahbanis, Fairouz, and Sabah, etc.; the appropriation of folkloric practices, both rooted and invented, in the service of forging a common ground on which multiple Lebanese communities could meet in the newly created nation; Western artists and performers (Nureyev, Rostropovitch, Richter, Karajan, etc.) whose presence here suggests Lebanon’s membership in the ranks of the cultural (read Western) elite
  • Spiritual Spaces: views of old churches, monasteries, and mosques; fine Islamic architecture; multiple generations sharing in the spiritual fabric of the nation.
  • Developing Urban Modernities: Beirut and coastal cities as rapidly evolving sites of cosmopolitan “Westernized” modern city life;
  • The Beginning of the Civil War, which disrupted and brought a cataclysmic end to the paths on which the new nation had just embarked.