Youssef Bey Karam – film / video (working title)

Youssef Bey Karam. Image : Joyce Joumaa


Joyce Joumaa‘s film/video project revolves around the legacy of Youssef Bey Karam a Lebanese fighter who led a rebellion against the Ottomans in the 1860s. Exiled several times from Lebanon for his work in favor of Lebanese sovereignty, he travelled from Algeria to European capitals leaving a written archive advocating support for Lebanese self-rule. Today the archive of Karam – a Lebanese hero – is held at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik. Joumaa proposes a video work, that is both a documentary and a fiction, that revisits the events that marked Karam’s life, their effect on Lebanon in the light of the context of the current catastrophic economic situation and social collapse. Playing with filmic genres and their own narrative of truth, Joumaa attempts, in this second film (it is part of a planned trilogy that tackles the crisis from different angles,) to treat history as both a refuge and as a laying of the ground for the infrastructure that lies behind the current crisis. Joumaa contributes to a new discourse touching on the geopolitics of the Arab world that reaches beyond the one developed by another generation of Lebanese artists that almost exclusively focused on and mined the Lebanese civil wars. She reaches into both French and Ottoman occupation of Lebanon and the legacy of policies wrought by colonization that structure many modern-day states.

Support in artistic practice, 2023


Joyce Joumaa tackles in her work the phenomenology of political performance. She creates narratives that are inspired from the archaeology of conflict by reimagining its relationship to the place and to the actors, which/who contributed to its emergence. Her practice has its roots in documentary as a genre but also combines fiction to enable going against and beyond the history of place in an attempt to critically contemplate an alternative state of being.  She is currently investigating the avenues that led to the Lebanese economic crisis.


Joyce Joumaa is a video artist based between Beirut and Montreal. After growing up in Lebanon, she pursued a BFA in Film Studies at Concordia University in Canada. Her work has been shown at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, FOFA Gallery and Dazibao. She is the recipient of the 2021-2022 of the Emerging Curator Residency Program at the Canadian Centre for Architecture and of the 2023 Bourse Plein Sud.
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