Zena M. Meskaoui
Adjunct faculty member
Ph.D. Philosophy, European Graduate School, Switzerland
M.A. History of Art, University of London, United Kingdom
Diploma History of Modern Art, Christie’s Education, United Kingdom
B.A. Interior Design, Beirut University College, Lebanon
B.A. Economics, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
Zéna Meskaoui is Adjunct Senior Lecturer at LAU. She holds a PhD in Art History (modern and contemporary) and Critical Theory. She joined LAU in 2003. She has designed, developed and taught a number of courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels in leading universities in Lebanon.
Her research interest lies in the artistic and cultural production in Lebanon and the region, particularly notions relating to war and their relevance or lack thereof in art.
Her chapter titled “Warring Body: Art and Life in Lina Majdalanie’s Appendice” analyses the text and the acting of the performance as a personal and intimate war fought in the name of liberty and autonomy https://press.syr.edu/supressbooks/5166/women-s-war-stories/.
Her article, “The Banal as Symptom of War”, 2019 (Saradar Collection-Essays) examines how representations of the banal during the 1975-90 war are embedded with a normalized form of violence. Her book Dignity (R)evoked (2018) examines the notions of dignity, sovereignty and violence and their bearings in art, produced during the war (1975-1990) and in the postwar period in Lebanon. She has also published on the significance of the human body in visual art and popular culture. Presently, her research focuses on the Lebanese art scene of the nineteen twenties to the seventies (1920s-1970s).
- “Warring Body – Warring Self,” in Women’s War Stories: The Lebanese Civil War, Women’s Labour, and the Creative Arts. Michelle Hartman and Malek Abisaab (ed.). Syracuse University Press Book. Print. (peer-reviewed). October 2022. https://press.syr.edu/supressbooks/5166/women-s-war-stories/
- “Sense Space.” Arwa Seifeddine, Paintings. Antoine Publishing. Beirut. Nov. 2018.
- Dignity (R)evoked: Art in Lebanon—A Reading in Between Lines. Think Media Series. Atropos Press. May 2018. https://www.atropospress.com/dignity-revoked
- “Re-Pairing: Excerpt from an E-Correspondence and an Accidental Diary,” A Dance Mag. Crayolab. Berlin, Beirut: Issue 2 Beirut pp.46-51. https://www.facebook.com/adancemag/videos/596889114037392/
- “The Banal as Symptom of War.” Saradar Collection Essays. 2019. http://www.saradar.com/ContentFiles/1251PDFLink.pdf
- “En-Force: Pascal Hachem’s Art.” Hawliyat, Balamand University. Beirut. 2018. (Peer reviewed). https://corepaedia.pub/index.php/hawliyat/issue/view/12
- “Ginane Makki Bacho: The Scrap Metal Collector,” Civilization, Saleh Barakat Gallery. Beirut. 2016. Exhibition Catalogue. http://www.agialart.com/Content/uploads/Exhibition/9095_Ginane%20Makki%20Catalogue%20low%20res.pdf
- “Signifying Bodies: Artistic Representations of Embodiement in the Works of Samir Khaddaje, Rabih Mroué and Lina Saneh” Rethinking Intersections. KOHL-A Journal for Body and Gender Research. Beirut: Vol.1. No.1 summer 2015: 70-81. (Peer reviewed.) Available at: https://kohljournal.press/signifying-bodies-2. Doi: https://doi.org/10.36583/kohl/1-1-6.
- “Primitia, the Faculty Show,” in “A Collection of Art: Primitia”, Faculty of the School of Architecture and Design, LAU. Beirut. 2012: 3. Exhibition Catalogue.
- Texts under “Trajets”, pp22-24, “La Ville”, p.27, “Vous Qui Habitez des Nom”’, pp.45-46, and “Emplacement”, pp.62-63, Habiter Beyrouth: Parcours d’écriture. Un atelier d’écriture animé par Gorgia Makhlouf. Assabil, Janvier 2010.
- “Performing the Body: Haifa Wehbi in the Becoming.” Al Raida for Women’s Studies for the Arab World. Beirut: Issue 122-123. Summer/Fall 2008: 68-71. http://alraidajournal.com/index.php/ALRJ/article/view/133/0 (Peer reviewed).
- “Tristesse, Au Jour le Jour,” and “Toujours Pas Ma Guerre,” in Elle Orientale, Issue No.2 Oct. 2006: 53.
- “Mohamad El Rawas Art-Worlds.” City News. Beirut: issue No.2. Dec. 2000: 49-51.
LECTURES AND CONFERENCES
- “Lebanon Art Stories.” Beirut Printmaking Studio. Lecture in the Garden Series. 10 june 2021.
- “Lebanon Art Stories: Issues and Topics.” Karaz w Laymoon: http://karazwlaimoon.com. 15 February 2021. Online: https://1drv.ms/v/s!Alowm_gg6NJfnyMblfHS1rS8wD7c?e=p5l7mr
- Co-chairing the panel ‘Terrorism machines: Art production, Sociopolitical implications’ in Politics of the Machine, The second POM conference, Beirut, June 11-14.
- Guest Lecturer. AUB, School of Architecture and Design. Beirut. 10 Oct. 2018 and 12 Nov.2018.
- “Lebanon’s Art Stories.” Neighbourhood Initiative. AUB. Beirut. Sep. 2018.
- “Samir Khaddaje’s Art: A closer look.” AUB Alumni. 14 October 2017.
- “The Potential of Fragility.” Department of Fine Arts and Foundation Studies, Lebanese American University. Beirut, 26 April 2016.
Professional Work & Exhibitions
Meskaoui’s experience also includes trans-disciplinary activities as consultant, in education, conceptualization, and curation.
She is currently working Art Units project for Tabshoura (http://lal.ngo ; https://tabshoura.com), researching, designing, and developing each unit. The project is online art literacy curriculum, free of access, that integrates arts to construct and demonstrate understanding, connecting an art form to other subject areas. The curriculum enhances middle class students to develop observation, analytical skills, and critical thinking through the study of Arab artworks with a focus on Lebanon’s art.
She is active since 2017 with Lebanese Alternative Learning that “creates, deploys digital programs and provides capacity building trainings on distance teaching and learning” https://lal.ngo.
In 2019, as a free consultant for Nabu Museum, she reassessed the essentials of the museum. In 2015, she revised the curriculum of the Interior Design Program at AUB to update it to a certificate. From 2005 to 2016 she worked with the AUB Nature Conservation Centre with punctual projects involving art that aim at raising awareness about and preserving the biodiversity in Lebanon, with the support and collaboration of local rural communities of the targeted areas. As assistant and co-director, she contributed to the opening and launching of the contemporary art gallery Sfeir-Semler in 2005 in Beirut. In 2004, she was the art director for the LAU Major Production, Ayyam Beirut.