Natasha Karam

Given the time, under the shade of an olive tree 3

Mixed media installation

When confronted with places and structures that were inhabited thousands of years ago, one can only wonder how people used to live; what they used to do, why, and how. Essentially, how similar they were to us. Looking at the stones of Deir El Kalaa, at what is left of an ancient society, Karam considered how the passage of time for humans is marked by constant acts of creation and destruction: we create, we destroy, and then we create again with what remains. The remains of structures used for olive oil production are present on-site, indicating that a plantation of olive trees must have grown nearby. Karam became particularly drawn to the process of extracting oil, a method which has changed very little over the years – from Roman times to the present day. It is a familiar and recognizable tradition which connects the people of Lebanon to their past. But how many people would know, without being told, what these rounded stones represent? Given the time, under the shade of an olive tree is a mixed media installation with the humble goal to bring back traces of the presence of olive oil production, of the tree itself and the use of olive wood, with olive leaves, rocks, and ink and olive oil on paper. The leaves are what remain, discarded during the oil-making process, signifying the work that has been done to create the final product. The presence of olive leaves in the open space – with no trees in sight – reminds visitors of our relationship with the past; how much has stayed the same, and how much has changed.


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About the Artist

Natasha Karam (b. 1997) is a multidisciplinary creative. She grew up in Beirut, and after living and studying in Scotland, she was pulled back here inexorably. In her practice, she floats – with wonder and conviction – between images, words, sounds, and movement, through which she questions herself and her environment. Her work explores the intersection between the human and the natural world, and the various journeys of beings that overlap in life. She has exhibited her work in group shows in both Edinburgh and Beirut, showcasing mostly mixed media installations and photography. She is also a movement artist, having recently worked on a dance film project.

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