beirut

Paul Guiragossian, Portrait of Juliette, 1978, oil on Masonite, 78 3/4 x 39 3/8".

Paul Guiragossian

Beirut Exhibition Center

Paul Guiragossian, Portrait of Juliette, 1978, oil on Masonite, 78 3/4 x 39 3/8".

At its best, to be Lebanese meant to be multicultural avant la lettre, having to cohabitate with seventeen different religions and several ethnicities and languages—all in an area not much larger than Delaware. The Armenians, descendants of Great War refugees who suffered an acute trauma in the 1915 genocide that decimated their communities and stripped them of their ancestral home in Anatolia, form one of the smallest Lebanese communities. They are thoroughly urbanized, cosmopolitan, and polyglot.

This was the culture from which Paul Guiragossian emerged, and that his life and art encapsulated. Born in Jerusalem in 1925 to a family devastated by the Armenian genocide, he experienced exile both as heritage and destiny when his family relocated to Beirut in 1947. Lebanon became his home, and its multilayered cultures his cloak of many colors. He excelled in assimilation, learning

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