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Amazonian show in Lebanon

Jacques Menassa lived in Brazil for ten years and took several photographic trips to the Amazon. His work will be shown this month in an exhibition at Lebanese university Usek.

Isaura Daniel*

Jacques Menassa
Jacques Menassa
Menassa photographed Indians

São Paulo – The Lebanese photographer Jacques Menassa will be featured in an exhibition on the Amazon, starting on April 18th in Jounieh, Lebanon. Menassa lived in Brazil for almost ten years, in Rio de Janeiro and Manaus, during which period he took trips to the Amazon. “I travelled to the forest several times,” says the photographer, who did not limit himself to the Brazilian part of the forest alone. His work resulted in a set of photograph collections, one of which will be shown at the Central Library of Université Saint Esprit de Kaslik (Usek).

The exhibition, entitled “Amazônia, um olhar sem fronteiras” (Amazon, a view without borders), Menassa’s lens portrays overviews of the forest, he beauty of the riverside cities he passed through, local people and Yanomami Indians. To cap off his work, the Lebanese photographer invited the Ukrainian-Lebanese Iryna Novytska Zein to make paintings inspired in the photos. The images captured by Menassa will be shown alongside Zein’s acrylic and watercolour paintings. The Ukrainian painter, however, has never been to the Amazon.

Toucan painted by Iryna

Menassa, aged 55, lived in Brazil from 1984 to 1985 and then from 1990 to 1998. He came to the country by invitation of a Lebanese uncle, on his mother’s side, who lives in Brazil. “I am a Lebanese with an Amazonian heart,” he says. The photographer fell in love with Brazil, but decided to return to his native country to care for his elderly mother. In Lebanon, Menassa’s line of work is in commerce, but in Brazil he dedicated himself solely to the art of photography. While in the country, he stayed at his relatives’ house.

Menassa, who was born in the city of Ghosta, holds degrees in Political Sciences and Administration, but he also studied Photography at the Usek. He has won three photography contests and gave workshops on the subject. In addition to taking his own photos and holding exhibitions, Menassa is regarded as an art activist who organizes shows and photo contests. He was in the panel of judges of the Amazonian Carnival, established the Clube da Fotografia (Photography Club) in Manaus, and contributed to the inauguration of Maria's Gallery, at the Harissa Basilica, in Lebanon, among other actions.

Press Release
Press Release
Menassa: Amazonian heart

The show featuring photographs and paintings of the Amazon is organized by the Usek‘s Centre for Latin American Studies and Cultures (Cecal, in the Portuguese acronym) and the Central Library, and is a part of “Diversity Day,” promoted by the university so its students may discover the riches of the world, according to Cecal director Roberto Khatlab.


"Amazônia, um olhar sem fronteiras"
Photograph and painting exhibition
April 18th to 30th, 2012
Place: Usek Central Library – Main Campus - Jounieh - Lebanon
Organized by: Cecal and Usek Library

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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