Walid Ra’ad (2004-11-26)

Walid Ra’ad
Practice: Video, Photography and Collage
Date of Lecture: 2004-11-26


“Traditional history is written as a chronology of events or a biography of participants. We are not saying history should not include this. We are certainly saying that history cannot be reduced to this.” – Walid Ra’ad

Since the early 1990s, Ra’ad’s multi-disciplinary work, which includes textual analysis, video, photography and collage, has explored the ways in which traumatic events are represented and experienced, collectively and individually. His art is grounded in painstaking research into the history of contemporary Lebanon, research which he manipulates and exhibits as a product of The Atlas Group an imaginary, non-profit cultural research foundation based in Lebanon and New York. He uses humor, dada-like absurdity, archival material and references to the mass media to comment on the memories and the desires that underlie the writing of history. In his most recent pieces such as, My Neck Is Thinner Than A Hair: A History of the Car Bomb in the Lebanese Wars (1975-1991), and Missing Lebanese Wars (1996-2002), Ra’ad produces archival dossiers containing photographs, newspaper clippings, videos, drawings, and written and videotaped testimonials. Publicly presented as mixed-media installations, these artifacts are used to question the creation and use of historical truth.


Walid Ra’ad was born in 1967 and grew up in Lebanon. The military and geo-political complications that followed Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and retreat in 1983, forced Walid to leave Beirut to pursue his studies in the United States. Initially focused on becoming a doctor, Ra’ad soon turned to photography, which he studied for four years at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He later earned a doctorate in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester and is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media Studies at Queens College. Ra’ad’s artwork is showing concurrently in Toronto at Prefix Gallery (until November 27th) and the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU)in Toronto until November 14th. He has also curated a program of videos which is screening at the Vtape until November 26th.

Additional Links: http://www.theatlasgroup.org/

Ryecast Link: https://ryecast.ryerson.ca/6/watch/495.aspx