This week, a photo exhibition from Groningen’s Courtney Bonneau is rolling out in Beirut, Lebanon. The show, called “Love Letters to the Middle East”, opens Thursday, February 2, at Dar al Mussawir, one of the biggest photography spaces in Lebanon.
The exhibition explores the humanity of people living in conflict and war areas, who are Bonneau’s favourite subjects in her photographs.
“The photos showed at the exhibition were selected by the curator of Dar al Mussawir, who is a war photographer himself,” Bonneau explains. They consist of 27 photos selected from a collection of over 200, mainly shot during the last two years.
The selection covers all the countries visited by Bonneau in her conflict reporting experience, from Iraq to Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. There are also pictures shot in Iran in October 2022: she was among the few photographers in Tehran when the latest wave of protests sparked.
Read also: Capturing humanity. An interview with conflict zone photographer Courtney Bonneau
“It was not easy to come up with the theme for this exhibition,” Bonneau continues, “and in the end, I think that the title of this show truly expresses my feelings for this part of the world.” The exhibition is also a way for Bonneau to show her love and appreciation for Lebanon, the place she chose as her base after living for 14 years in Groningen.
“Love Letters to the Middle East” is a charitable exhibit: Bonneau will donate all the proceeds to Clown Me In, an NGO that does clowning in refugee camps and educates young people about social issues. “I am very happy to put all the money back into Lebanon because the people and the community here have been so gracious to let me settle and work here,” she said.
View this post on Instagram
“Love Letters to the Middle East” is her first show in Lebanon. In March, the photographer will have a second exhibition with other women as a part of the Beirut-based collective, Art District. The subject in this show will be women photographed by other women. The Dutch Ambassador in Lebanon scheduled a visit to it. For this show, too, all proceeds will go to charities. Bonneau also has a permanent exhibition at the UNESCO site in Mosul, Iraq.
“I would love to organize an exhibition in The Netherlands in the future, in Groningen in particular,” Bonneau said, “because for me, shows help spreading awareness on the things going on in these parts of the world, often forgotten by Western media.”
Leave a Reply