Back in August 2016, Ecuadorian-American artist Gogy Esparza and former Kinfolk creative director Jey Perie took a trip to Beirut for the first time to chronicle the raw, everyday lives of the city’s youth from the affluent to the disenfranchised. Set against a war-torn and fractured backdrop, the duo was exposed to the harsh realities of the many diverse Beruti residing in the Lebanese capital.
The resulting project that materialized from the trip was Beirut Youth, a series of photos shot on 35mm film by Esparza alongside a super 8 video by Perie that crystallized their experiences in the city while raising awareness for the complexities within the distinct communities they encountered in their journey. “In Beirut, Gogy and Jey became brothers, better men, because of the realities lived and witnessed there. Better people who, at every chance they’d get, would tell their global community about the true character, spirit and blessings of Beirut, and the people they met there,” as per a statement describing the 40-day project.
These works would be manifested in a physical museum show at the city’s Aïshti Foundation in August 2018. The presentation featured the pair’s snapshots, video projections as well as silk banners, bedroom and living room installations. The project has also seen physical extensions such as a photography book with previous exhibition images alongside a T-shirt capsule that paid homage to the history and culture of Beirut. Half of the proceeds from the sale of merchandise were donated directly to Shatila Refugee Camp’s CYC Youth Center in Southern Beirut.
Following the Beirut explosions that saw over 200 deaths, 6,000 injured and over 300,000 people displaced, Esparza and Perie want to continue to give back to the city with the launch of a new charity print sale featuring images from Beirut Youth. The snapshots measuring 8 by 12 inches will arrive framed and sell for $100 USD apiece. All of the profits will go towards the nonprofit organization Impact Lebanon that has launched several initiatives to get the city back on its feet while continuing to assist the wounded and displaced. Those interested in purchasing the prints should contact Esparza directly here.
In addition, HVW8 Gallery in Berlin also has the artworks from the latest Beirut Youth exhibition and will be selling framed prints from the show for €200 EUR (approx. $237 USD), and its silk banners ranging from €500-€750 EUR (approx. $591-$887 USD). A hundred percent of the proceeds will also benefit Impact Lebanon.
Elsewhere in art, Banksy’s homage to Basquiat has appeared at auction for the first time.
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???? We’ve all seen the blood, destruction and turmoil that has befallen Beirut, the country of Lebanon and its people. Even before the explosion, the state and its citizens were facing dire circumstances. We will never be able to give Beirut what it has given us. With your help, our small offering could contribute to helping rebuild, and save lives. Over 200 people found dead, over 6,000 wounded, and over 300,000 people displaced. The photos you see here are from @jeyperie and I’s BEIRUT YOUTH project, documented over 4 trips and 40 days in Lebanon. For the rest of August, any of the photos you see here, and in the link in my bio, are available for purchase for $100 per, 8” x 12” digital C-Print, with 100% of the profits going directly to @impact.lebanon (printing and domestic US Shipping included). Please feel free to contact us directly, via DM, text, email or any personal message. For international purchases and shipping, please do not hesitate to ask, as we will make every effort to accommodate any donor interested in helping the cause. Upon receiving all of the donations, we will also make sure to share the final deposit publicly. Our prayers, hearts and all of our souls are with you. We have no words, but solidarity in your loss and pain. We are with you and we love you ❤️ We are so sorry ❤️