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Gallery Talks: In Conversation With Elise Zakhour

In our recent Gallery Talk series, we interview each artist, discovering their creative process and the underlying themes represented in their works, which are currently on display at our group exhibition "Interconnected," in collaboration with Arneli Art Gallery.

Elise Zakhour is a Lebanese artist with an MA in Interior Architecture and in Plastic Arts. She also has a certificate in iconography and mosaics.

In her 'Instability' series, Elise discusses a state of instability and confusion through photography and complex digital contrast.

Elise captures monochromatic detailed shots in an elaborate variance. As she examines the different depths of introspection, she depicts delicate emotions of instability and confusion - reflected in the complexity of the perspective she engages in her works. Obscuring the visible and transcending chromatic details, Elise employs minimal tints and desaturation in showing her expressive view and reality of the world.


What inspires your style?

What inspires my style, in addition to the artists I mentioned, is everything that surrounds me and has an influence on my life.

What sort of experimentation has led you to your current style as an artist?

My experience made me the artist I am today. I worked with sculpture, painting, photography and installation... And according to the subject I am working on I choose the material that I use.

Why did you start making art? How did you kickstart your artistic endeavour?

Ever since I was a child (3 years old) I realised that I have a passion for art. While kids were playing I used to take a corner and start drawing. Later on I started to go to an art school (atelier) to improve my skills. And after having a degree in interior architecture I was admitted to the university to study fine arts.

I started exposing my paintings at home and then my projects at the university were highly appreciated and I had the opportunity to participate in many galleries and the social media helped me spread my work to a wider audience.

What other artists, genres or movements do you draw inspiration from?

I am inspired by Philippe ramette, surrealism, and conceptual art.

What do you do to get into your creative zone?

My creative zone is any place where I can see something that attracts me and pushes me to meditate and start a new artwork.

 What are the biggest challenges you've had in your art?

Are there any thoughts you wish to share in relation to the theme of interconnectedness? (the impact the global events of the last 3 years have had in your artistic endeavours as a female artist)

The economic crisis that influenced my country for the past three years and the pandemic that invaded the world have definitely affected my work... I presented the projects 'instability' and 'loneliness'.

What ultimate messages do your creative expressions convey?

My message is to present the subject in my perspective in a very honest way so that the audience would be open to new perspectives that satisfy their passion for art.

If you could change one aspect of society or social issues through your work, what would it be?

If I can change something I would add art lessons to all the schools and universities and even to the big companies because people should be well educated about art and they can find in art a tool to express themselves in a healthy and creative way.

Has technology had any impact on your artistic practice? In what ways has it affected or shaped it?

Technology is a new medium that was added to artworks. And on the other hand the social media helped the artists to spread their artworks to a wider audience.

There is also a new opportunity with the virtual exhibitions that makes it easier for the audience to have access to any exhibition all over the world.

Are there recurring themes in your work, or any that have emerged as your work has evolved?

As for the themes I develop in my work, they are usually themes that once touched me personally and influenced my personal life. I work on them to turn them into something global so that every person can relate to the artwork. 

I am always working on the variety of themes and ideas, always focusing to capture the details around me...

What are you working on now and next?

Now, I am an art teacher. Lately I was selected to work for a newspaper, to create artworks, digital arts and photography presenting the articles in a creative way. I am working hard to be able to make a solo exhibition.

INTERCONNECTED - A group exhibition of 18 women artists from across Africa and the Middle East; showcasing 36 works in a variety of mediums and perspectives outlined in paintings, mixed media and digital art. Bordering between the known and the unknown, abstraction and figuration; the selected artists examine the interconnected complexities of human experience detailed through distinct artistic styles and approaches - in personal theory and form.

Visit the exhibition here.


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