December 11, 2011

Elizabeth Jabar imbues 'Kindred' with spirit of Lebanon


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Elizabeth Jabar’s “Bedouin Women, The Harvest”

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Jabar’s “Bedouin Women, In Due Season.”



WHERE: Common Street Gallery, 20 Common St., Waterville

WHEN: Through Dec. 28

HOURS: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by appointment

INFO: 749-4368;

A particularly interesting piece, "Bedouin Women, In Due Season," features a small black image of the Mary figure in the center of a pink folio covered with red paper pomegranates and printed paper tresses. Simple strands of red thread reach from the mother and child like blood lines out toward abstract pie wheels printed on the sides of the image. It seems quite simple at first, but its metaphors and symbols impressively refuse to be pigeonholed.

I think my favorite piece, however, is "Bedouin Women, The Harvest." It is an ochre-toned work featuring images of wheat and a series of cut-out, hanging resurrection flower roots that, to me, look appealingly like garlic bulbs. Stylized white lines of plants printed on the surface appear as memory wisps of past plenty. In all, it has a pleasant tonal pulse with sectioned rhythms that play up the meanings of its layers and depth.

While "Kindred" has a few awkward passages and a highly abstracted relationship to its subject of cultural identity, it is absolutely worth checking out. It's quite an accomplishment by Jabar to have produced such a thoughtful show relating to Waterville's Lebanese history and its unique and largely hidden heritage.

Freelance writer Daniel Kany is an art historian who lives in Cumberland. He can be contacted at:


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