Lebanese War Statistics
The seventeen-year-long Lebanese war ended in 1990. Soon after, a short text of statistics was published in the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and Le Monde. It read: “150.000 dead, 200.000 wounded, 17.500 disappeared, 3641 car bombs etc.” Nada Sehnaoui was astounded to see that seventeen years of a horrific war, which affected every aspect of life, had been reduced into such a curt text. In reaction to this, the artist produced a series of paintings entitled Lebanese War Statistics, which was her first conceptual body of work using the short text published in the press.
In Lebanese War Statistics, Sehnaoui responds to the numeric headlines that surfaced in American and European newspapers, such as the New York Times and Le Monde, when reporting the casualties of the Lebanese civil war after the conclusion of the Ta’if Accords. The artist extracts the newspaper clippings and reconfigures them into serialized canvases, applying red paint, tally marks, and bandages, as if attempting to make a dent in the cold rationality of the statistician. In choosing to expound on this war coverage that she deems “curt,” Sehnaoui brings the affects generated by her witnessing of the necropolitical mandate of the war to bear on the truncated reporting done by the concerned media outlets.