I took a taxi deep into the Achrafieh district of Beirut early on a Monday morning. I arrived at a narrow road and Ara Azad Barsoumian greeted me outside his studio. He took me into his workspace, which consisted of 3 rooms and an outdoor space, which is quite rare for Beirut. The walls of his studio were adorned with his paintings. His colorful face paintings looked down at us as Ara took me on a tour of his studio.
Some of his most remarkable works are his face paintings, which are plastered with stamps and people’s addresses. There is a very interesting story behind these paintings. Ara mails these paintings, as is, without any packaging or covering, to select addresses, and includes the return address and return stamps. He writes the sending address on the painting, and then sticks the stamps on them. Often, the people at the post office look at Ara with disbelief. The people at the receiving end of the paintings are shocked when they first receive the paintings. Remarkably Ara tells me that every paintings he has ever sent has returned safely to him in perfect condition except for two. I take a close look at the face paintings and realize that they are in fact in perfect condition.
Some of Ara’s paintings:
Ara’s paintings sent by mail as is:
Ara at work:
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Ara’s info:Website: http://araazad.com/Ara13_content.html Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org