London Lantern

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Tom Young at Indar Pasricha Fine Art

03/05/2008, By

Reader Rating: 2.9 from 1086 votes

In January 2008 Tom Young was sketching a destroyed building at a cafe in a suburb of Beirut when he was asked by a resistance fighter to paint his dead brother. He only knew the brother's first name Hafez and he painted the portrait from a passport photograph. Hafez was killed by a cluster bomb two weeks before he drew the portrait for his grieving family.

Young said “His family told me that now I had brought their son back to life, and his brother was moved to tears. Whatever our differences are, I'm interested in using my art to find a common ground, cross political and cultural divides, and get through the essence of what makes us human.”

Young spent two months in the Lebanon painting and sketching for his latest UK exhibition ‘Resilient Spirit’ which will be on show at Indar Pasricha Fine Art, in London’s Connaught Street.

The exhibition is a body of paintings, drawings and film inspired by the Lebanon. He said “It is a place of dramatic cultural contrasts. It is where 'East' meets 'West', yet cannot be stereotyped as either. I aim to express what I love about the country: the mountains - where you can see the Mediterranean from the ski slopes, the delicious food and wine, the fantastic parties, the amazing sites of antiquity and the fascinating, generous people - qualities that are so often missed by the world's media.

He continued, “By exhibiting paintings that explore conflict alongside beautiful landscapes, I hope to show the contradictions inherent in Lebanon, and also suggest what might be lost if more is not done to protect this precious part of the world. I see Lebanon as a place in its own right, and also as an extraordinary metaphor for what is happening in the rest of the world.”

There are a number of other portraits in the exhibition, including some of children from Dahiye, the suburb of Beirut that was most heavily bombed in the recent conflict with Israel. There are others from the Shatilla Palestinian refugee camp, where Young held a series of workshops with children. He said, “I’m inspired by the resilient spirit of people who want to get on with their lives in peace, despite living in difficult conditions.”

Young looks for Romance in his work “It is what my work is all about, and what most of the work in the exhibition will be about - the celebration of life and beauty. I'm also interested in taking the idea of ‘Romantic Idealism’ into a tragic environment to challenge myself, and use painting to express the pain and sadness of what is happening. Romantic art and literature have always been about feeling and emotion. This involves exploring the 'dark side' as well as the hope.”

June 3rd to 21st
Indar Pasricha Fine Art
22 Connaught Street
London W2 2AF
+44 (0)20 7724 9541

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