Art of Reslience is a documentary about a unique cultural center outside of Beirut, Lebanon: Art Residence Aley (ARA). Located in the mountains of Aley, this small arts residence program offers respite to young Syrian artists displaced by war. It is a transformative and inspirational place. Artists arrive homeless and exhausted by the suffering of Syria’s tragedy, yet find they are able to regain their creative energy and heal during their time in ARA. As artist Hasko Hasko says in the film, this space was the first time in a while where “all the good things [were] real.”
Like the artists, the space itself – an abandoned horse stables partly destroyed in the Lebanese civil war – has recovered from a violent past. ARA’s founder, Raghad Mardini, saw its beauty and life underneath its rubble and repaired the property in 2012. ARA then began to host artists and the result was wondrous. These young, war-torn refugee artists found a place where they could belong and could create again. Artist Mohamad Labash tells us: here, with the opportunity to rebel as an artist, “you feel like you exist, you are not just a number.”
This film was supported by the British Council and Art Residence Aley.