Migration of the Butterflies

Installation; hand-carved wood cast in concrete, six blocks
105 x 105 x 210 cm
Ceramic sculptures, nine ceramics
18 x 25 cm

Born from a collaboration between designer Nada Debs and ceramic artist Rina Jaber, this installation inlays Debs’ signature mother of pearl butterflies onto concrete surfaces where they animate and embellish the cold, grey material. The butterflies – depicted taking flight – represent the mass migration of the Lebanese people following political turmoil, the struggles of the country’s economy, and the increasingly challenging living conditions over the past two years. Debs and Jaber considered what the butterflies’ absence would look like when they left their concrete ‘homes’; an imprint, a shape of emptiness fossilized in the space they abandoned and in the hearts and memories of those left behind. Through this narrative, the artwork explores the complexity of human emotion; where sadness, grief, and emptiness can coexist with longing, hope, and beauty in each of us. The work may also prompt visitors to reflect on the loss of loved ones not only through migration but also through some tragedies, such as war, genocide, and natural disasters. Migration of the Butterflies reminds us of the fragility and short life span of these creatures, and how that is ultimately true for human life as well.


This item will be delivered after the exhibition is over
About the Designer

Nada Debs (b.1962) is a designer living and working in Beirut. Her work ranges from product and furniture design to one-off commissions across craft, art, fashion, and interiors. Having grown up in Japan, she studied design at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in the United States and has traveled all over the world, looking for connections between different cultures. The common thread in her work is her ability to distil culture and craftsmanship to create pieces of emotional resonance that cut across time and borders. Debs’ work has been shown globally, including at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK; Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany; the Boghossian Foundation, Brussels, Belgium; and Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France. Her design pieces are part of the permanent collection at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar.

More works by Nada Debs