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Diab Alkarssifi’s lost archive of Lebanese and Arab photographs is brought to light in a new book by Ania Dabrowska.
Diab Alkarssifi’s lost archive of Lebanese and Arab photographs is brought to light in a new book by Ania Dabrowska.
Diab Alkarssifi’s lost archive of Lebanese and Arab photographs is brought to light in a new book by Ania Dabrowska.
460 backers pledged £23,038 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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A Lebanese Archive by Ania Dabrowska

£23,038

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Draft cover design for A Lebanese Archive
Draft cover design for A Lebanese Archive

News:  You can still pledge to support our project!  We have reached our target but our Kickstarter campaign continues!  

Extra funding will allow us to do so much more - it all depends on the final amount we raise.  A huge thanks to all that have supported us and welcome to all new backers! 

We still have a lot of amazing press and media coverage coming up, and are in the process of trying to anticipate where this will take us. With increased funds we have a lot more options for producing the book, including the possibility of increasing the print run, extent, or number of images, and really making it an exceptionally beautiful object. We have also talked with Ania and Diab about the possibility of an exhibition here in London and in Beirut, and if we manage to raise enough (can we push this to over £30,000?), perhaps, with all of your support, all of these wider ambitions can be reached. In the meantime, we're announcing a few new rewards, and will keep everyone up to date with progress and news. Check our updates page for recent news.

Thanks again for all the support, and being part of this project.

'Double studio portrait, found photograph c. 1940s, album of Youssef Saleh, collection of Diab Alkarssifi', A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2014
'Double studio portrait, found photograph c. 1940s, album of Youssef Saleh, collection of Diab Alkarssifi', A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2014

A Lebanese Archive: Inspired by the collection of Diab Alkarssifi

The book will present for the first time the work and collection of former photojournalist Diab Alkarssifi. Arriving in the UK in 1993, after emigrating from Lebanon, Diab met Ania at Arlington House, a hostel for homeless men, where Ania was running a photography workshop and Diab was temporarily living. Invited to Ania’s studio, he arrived with two carrier bags, containing thousands of photographic prints, and negatives, part of a life-long collection, including his numerous photographic assignments, everyday life in his home city of Baalbeck on the Syrian border and in Beirut, his student years in the early 1970s in Moscow and Budapest and, most extraordinarily his collection of found images from studios in Baalbeck, Beirut, Damascus and Cairo - photographs of society, family and friends, and Arab life in Lebanon, Palestine, Kuwait, Egypt, Syria and Iraq, that he passionately accumulated over his lifetime. These images, all that survives of a much larger collection still hidden or lost in Lebanon, gives an intimate insight into the cultural, everyday and political history of this region, from 1993 to as far back as 1889. Along with Book Works and the Arab Image Foundation, Ania and Diab want to bring this extraordinary collection to life, to preserve a view of modern Arab history, tell the stories that accompany the images, and present an otherwise lost view of this huge, diverse and fascinating region.

'Swimmers, found photograph, Beirut 1977, album of Hussein Saleh, collection of Diab Alkarssifi', A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2013
'Swimmers, found photograph, Beirut 1977, album of Hussein Saleh, collection of Diab Alkarssifi', A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2013

The work of Polish artist and photographer Ania Dabrowska has given new meaning to Alkarssifi’s collection and his photographic work. Her interpretation and arrangement of the archive with her own imagery and assemblages has led to a fascinating layering of the work inspired by their conversations on history, photography and personal memory. This book has taken Diab and Ania on a journey from London, to Beirut and Baalbeck, to rediscover missing parts of his collection and to understand the archival material within a present-day Lebanon.

This kickstarter campaign offers you the opportunity to take part in this project by investing in a book that will celebrate this incredible collection and to receive one of several rewards/offers including unique artworks, limited editions by Diab Alkarssifi and Ania Dabrowska.

'George Hawi in militia camps, Ayoun Al Siman Mountains, Lebanon, photograph by Diab Alkarssifi, 1976', A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2013
'George Hawi in militia camps, Ayoun Al Siman Mountains, Lebanon, photograph by Diab Alkarssifi, 1976', A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2013

A Lebanese Archive will comprise of photographs from the archival collection and new works by Ania Dabrowska, punctuated by an exchange between Dabrowska and Alkarssifi on the differences and similarities in their own cultural and political histories.  It includes texts on archives in visual art practice, the contemporary cultural context of Lebanon and the Middle East, and the materiality of photographic archives.

'Fatima Hammdo', from the Alkarsiffi family album, c. 1970s. collection of Diab Alkarssifi', A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2013
'Fatima Hammdo', from the Alkarsiffi family album, c. 1970s. collection of Diab Alkarssifi', A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2013

As much of the modern heritage in Lebanon has been lost in recent history, the book is important as a lasting legacy of this unique photographic collection. It also charts the story of a chance encounter between two people for whom photography has shaped their lives as an instrument of affirming and discovering of cultural identity.

The book will be edited and co-published in English by Book Works and the Arab Image Foundation, and designed by Kelly Weedon, with a publication date of March 2015.

All backers will have their names listed within the book and on the project website: www.lebanesearchive.co.uk 

(We’ll check with you to ensure that you want to be included.)

Pledges

A number of pledges have now all been sold. However to keep the interest in this project we've release a few new rewards. Have a look at our Pledges or check out our Updates page for news of press, and new rewards

New reward! Pre-pub offer for £23.00

'A Lebanese Archive', draft cover idea
'A Lebanese Archive', draft cover idea

Pledge £55 for 'Victorious'. New reward in order to stretch our goals (more information about our ambitions on our updates page here). £55 for a signed copy of the book, with a Polaroid sized photographic insert.

‘Victorious, by Diab Alkarssifi, Baalbeck, Lebanon, 1970s’, A Lebanese Archive by Ania Dabrowska, 2014,  Polaroid Size, Limited Edition 50
‘Victorious, by Diab Alkarssifi, Baalbeck, Lebanon, 1970s’, A Lebanese Archive by Ania Dabrowska, 2014, Polaroid Size, Limited Edition 50

Pledge £95 for an exclusive, signed and dated photographic print

'Om Ashad, by Diab Alkarssifi, Shleefa Village, 1984', A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2014, b&w photograph, giclée print, 10" x 8", unframed, limited edition of 100
'Om Ashad, by Diab Alkarssifi, Shleefa Village, 1984', A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2014, b&w photograph, giclée print, 10" x 8", unframed, limited edition of 100

New Reward! Pledge £120 for exclusive, signed edition of 'MIss Universe 1971, Georgina Rizk visiting Baalbeck, by Diab Alkarssifi, 1977'.

'MIss Universe 1971, Georgina Rizk visiting Baalbeck, by Diab Alkarssifi, 1977', A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2014
'MIss Universe 1971, Georgina Rizk visiting Baalbeck, by Diab Alkarssifi, 1977', A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2014

Pledge £225 for a unique to Kickstarter editioned photograph

'Untitled 4 (Goats), from the collection of Diab Alkarssifi, Lebanon 1976', Drift/Resolution series, A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2014, colour photograph, Digital C-Type print, dimensions 20” x 16”, unframed, limited edition of 30
'Untitled 4 (Goats), from the collection of Diab Alkarssifi, Lebanon 1976', Drift/Resolution series, A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2014, colour photograph, Digital C-Type print, dimensions 20” x 16”, unframed, limited edition of 30

Pledge £550, for a handprinted, analogue diptych

'No Place to Swim, by Diab Alkarssifi, Baalbeck, 1989', A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2014, b&w photographic diptych, analogue fibre handprints, each photograph 10" x 12", unframed, limited edition of 15
'No Place to Swim, by Diab Alkarssifi, Baalbeck, 1989', A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2014, b&w photographic diptych, analogue fibre handprints, each photograph 10" x 12", unframed, limited edition of 15

For £1,000, receive one of 3, unique framed photographic diptychs

Diptych 1, 'Father and Rock, from the collection of Diab Alkarssifi', Drift/Resolution series, A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2013, b&w photographs, digital C-type prints, each photograph 11" x 14", framed
Diptych 1, 'Father and Rock, from the collection of Diab Alkarssifi', Drift/Resolution series, A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2013, b&w photographs, digital C-type prints, each photograph 11" x 14", framed
Diptych 2: 'Man, Woman, Blue, from the collection of Diab Alkarssifi', Drift/Resolution series, A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2013, b&w photographs, digital C-type prints, each photograph 11" x 14", framed
Diptych 2: 'Man, Woman, Blue, from the collection of Diab Alkarssifi', Drift/Resolution series, A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2013, b&w photographs, digital C-type prints, each photograph 11" x 14", framed
Diptych 3: 'Champion Skiers and Beirut Swimmers, from the collection of Diab Alkarssifi', Drift/Resolution series, A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2013, b&w photographs, digital C-type prints, each photograph 11" x 14", framed
Diptych 3: 'Champion Skiers and Beirut Swimmers, from the collection of Diab Alkarssifi', Drift/Resolution series, A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2013, b&w photographs, digital C-type prints, each photograph 11" x 14", framed

 For, £1,500 receive one of 3, unique, framed photographic triptychs

Triptych 1: 'Dancer, Fighter, Baby, from the collection of Diab Alkarssifi', Drift/Resolution series, A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2013, b&w and colour photographs, digital C-type prints, each photograph 11" x 14", framed
Triptych 1: 'Dancer, Fighter, Baby, from the collection of Diab Alkarssifi', Drift/Resolution series, A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2013, b&w and colour photographs, digital C-type prints, each photograph 11" x 14", framed
Triptych 2: 'Speaker, Funeral Women, Freemasons, from the collection of Diab Alkarssifi', Drift/Resolution series, A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2013, b&w and colour photographs, digital C-type prints, each photograph 11" x 14", framed
Triptych 2: 'Speaker, Funeral Women, Freemasons, from the collection of Diab Alkarssifi', Drift/Resolution series, A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2013, b&w and colour photographs, digital C-type prints, each photograph 11" x 14", framed

Pledge £2,500 for a personal meeting with Ania and Diab at the studio and choose your own image to be printed and framed to your specification

Ania Dabrowska and Diab Alkarssifi. Artwork: Select an image from the archive for a unique edition artwork, analogue photographic print, up to 20" x 24", or digital C-type photographic print up to 30" x 40", framed.
Ania Dabrowska and Diab Alkarssifi. Artwork: Select an image from the archive for a unique edition artwork, analogue photographic print, up to 20" x 24", or digital C-type photographic print up to 30" x 40", framed.

New reward: A bespoke edition with platinum print of your choice for £5000

Tools of the trade... please follow the link for more information about Book Works studio, and examples of our work.
Tools of the trade... please follow the link for more information about Book Works studio, and examples of our work.

Please note that this is a bespoke edition, and this is image is only a representation of the sort of tools we might use. For more information please contact jane@bookworks.org.uk

New! An extra special reward for private collectors, or public and institutional collections: Choose any photograph from A Lebanese Archive (from the archive or new work), printed and framed to your own specifications - £5000

Detail of the archive
Detail of the archive
Another view from the archive
Another view from the archive

Biographies

Ania Dabrowska was born in 1973 in Poland, and is an artist living and working in London using photography, installation, text, sound, and video. She is interested in the impact that bringing together of different registers of time and space and different cultural identities might have on each other when re-configured in a context of new work. Her projects are often socially engaged and use participatory and collaborative methodologies.

She has exhibited in solo and group shows in the UK, Germany, USA and India since 2001. She was the winner of the Observer Hodge Photographic Award, 2003, selected for the National Portrait Gallery Photographic Portrait Award, 2007, and awarded The Wellcome Trust People Award, 2008–11. International residencies include the Ashkal Alwan residency in Beirut, 2014, SPACE artist residency at Arlington, 2010-2012, and Dharamshala International Artists Workshop, Khoj International Artists Association, Delhi, and White Crane Arts & Media, Dharamshala, India 2012.

She is currently a Lecturer at the CASS, London Metropolitan University, London, and previously has taught at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford, 2007-10, and as a visiting lecturer at Goldsmiths College, University of London, 2006-2012. She has also worked as a workshop Facilitator and Mentor for participatory projects with international organisations since 2004 including: Free Press Unlimited, PhotoVoice, SPACE, World Vision, United Response, CAST, U-Turn Project.

Diab Alkarssifi was born in 1951 in Baalbeck, Lebanon, and is a retired photojournalist, collector and writer. In 1975 Alkarssifi moved to study Philosophy and Media in Moscow, Russia, but was interrupted by an outbreak of war in Lebanon. He worked as a journalist for 16 years for local and national media including Al Nida and Al Akhbar newspapers, New TV, and Sowt Al Shaab Radio Station. He emigrated to the UK in 1993 and has lived in London since.

Risks and challenges

Ania and Diab have the support of both Book Works and the Arab Image Foundation to publish and distribute the book in an edition of 1,000 copies, printed in full colour, 240 pages, with a soft cover, 210 x 270 mm. Both these organisations are not-for-profit and rely on funding from their supporters to collaborate and work with artists, writers and designers on their projects. We also have the support of the Arts Council England, Ashkal Alwan in Beriut and Polish Cultural Institute in London – who helped fund the research and development of the project and travel to Lebanon for Ania and Diab to date; and the expertise and support of Chamas - our printers in Beirut where the book will be produced. We have all the images and stories from the archive, and the designer and editors are in place to make an excellent book.

The risk remains that we won’t quite achieve our fundraising target, as the costs to make the book are fixed. Without your support we can’t make the high quality publication we all want to achieve.

However we remain confident with the help of this campaign and your support we can raise the necessary funding we need. Book Works has over 30 years of experience in art publishing, and in delivering art publications on budget and on time, and the Arab Image Foundation have specialist experience in the handling of archival material and heritage collections of this kind.

We have had an enthusiastic response already to the project, and hope with your help to achieve our aims.

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Support this project

  1. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £5 or more About $8

    Kickstart A Lebanese Archive for £5, in return for a postcard, and our thanks in the form of your name in the book and on the website.

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    Pledge £20 or more About $33

    Be the first to receive the book A Lebanese Archive, at the special pre-publication price, and your name will appear in the book and on the website.

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    Reward no longer available 200 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £23 or more About $38

    Back by popular demand! We've now made another 200 copies available to the (second) early birds. Receive a copy of the book A Lebanese Archive, at the new special pre-publication price, and your name will appear in the book and on the website.

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    Pledge £30 or more About $50

    Receive a signed copy of the A Lebanese Archive, by Ania Dabrowska and Diab Alkarssifi as soon as it’s ready, and your name will appear in the book and on the website.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £55 or more About $91

    New reward, to help stretch our goals! A signed copy of the book 'A Lebanese Archive', with a photographic print insert from the archive, and your name will appear in the book and on the website.

    Artwork: ‘Victorious by Diab Alkarssifi, Baalbeck, Lebanon, 1970s’, A Lebanese Archive by Ania Dabrowska, 2014, colour, giclée print, Polaroid Size, inserted into the book which is presented in a sleeve, limited edition of 50.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £95 or more About $157

    Receive an exclusive edition of a signed, and dated photographic print from A Lebanese Archive, a signed copy of the book, as well as your name in the book and website.

    Artwork: 'Om Ashad, by Diab Alkarssifi, Shleefa Village, 1984', A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2014, b&w photograph, giclée print, dimensions 10” x 8”, unframed, limited edition of 100.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £120 or more About $199

    Following the success of the 'Om Ashad' edition we have now decided to offer this image as an unframed limited edition of 50 signed and titled by Ania Dabrowska with a Certificate of Authenticity, a signed copy of the book and your name listed in the book and on the website.

    Artwork: 'Miss Universe 1971 Georgina Rizk visiting Baalbeck, by Diab Alkarssifi, 1977', A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2014, b&w photograph, giclée print, 16" x 12", limited edition of 75.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £225 or more About $372

    A Kickstarter special! Be one of 30 to receive a unique Kickstarter edition of a signed, and dated photograph by Ania Dabrowska with a Certificate of Authenticity, a signed copy of the book, and your name in both the book and on the website.

    Artwork:
    Ania Dabrowska, 'Untitled 4 (Goats), from the collection of Diab Alkarssifi, Lebanon 1976', Drift/Resolution series, A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2014, colour photograph, Digital C-Type print, dimensions 20” x 16”, unframed, limited edition of 30.

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    Pledge £550 or more About $910

    Receive a handprinted analogue diptych selected from Diab Alkarssifi's archival collection, signed, titled and editioned by Ania Dabrowska with Certificate of Authenticity, a signed copy of the book in a specially made slip-case designed and produced at Book Works, with your name listed in the book and on the website.

    Art work: 'No Place to Swim, by Diab Alkarssifi, Baalbeck, 1989', A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2014, b&w photographic diptych, analogue fibre handprints, each photograph 10" x 12", unframed, limited edition of 15.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge £1,000 or more About $1,655

    Be one of 3, and choose a unique framed photographic diptychs from 'Drift/Resolution' series, signed, titled, and editioned by Ania Dabrowska with a Certificate of Authenticity, a signed copy of the book, in a specially made slip-case designed and produced at Book Works, and your name listed in the book and on the website.

    Artwork: Three unique photographic diptychs, from 'Drift/Resolution series', A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2013, b&w and colour, digital C-type prints, each photograph 11" x 14", framed, size of the diptychs varied.

    To select one of these artworks please see the images of the diptychs on the left and confirm your interest by email to jane@bookworks.org.uk

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge £1,500 or more About $2,482

    Again for 3 only, choose a unique framed photographic triptychs from 'Drift/Resolution' series, signed, titled and editioned by Ania Dabrowska with a Certificate of Authenticity, a signed copy of the book, in a specially made slip-case designed and produced at Book Works, with your name listed in the book and on the website.

    Art work: Three unique photographic triptychs, from 'Drift/Resolution series', A Lebanese Archive, Ania Dabrowska, 2013, b&w and colour, digital C-type prints, each photograph 11" x 14", framed, size of the triptychs varied.

    To select one of these artworks please see the images of the triptychs on the left and confirm your interest by email to jane@bookworks.org.uk

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge £2,500 or more About $4,137

    For a personal visit to the studio of Ania Dabrowska, where you will meet the artist and Diab Alkarssifi, choose any image from the archive to be printed and framed to your specification, receive a signed copy of the book in a specially made slip-case, with your name listed in the book and on the website.

    Artwork: A unique edition artwork, analogue photographic print, up to 20" x 24", or digital C-type photographic print up to 30" x 40", framed.

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge £5,000 or more About $8,275

    Your copy of the book will be hand bound in finest goatskin with a photograph inlaid in a gilt frame on the front cover. Your name or initials can be tooled in gold leaf on the spine of the book. The edges of the book are gilded and the headbands are hand embroidered. The endpapers at the front and back of the book are douppion silk. Each copy will be signed by the artist and photographer and will include a platinum printed photograph of your choice either loosely inserted, or sewn into the book, which is presented in a clamshell box. This is a bespoke edition, hand crafted by Book Works studio, in full consultation with client, and backer of this reward. For more information please contact jane@bookworks.org.uk

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge £5,000 or more About $8,275

    An extra special reward for private collectors, or public and institutional collections: Choose any photograph from A Lebanese Archive (from the archive or new work), printed and framed to your own specifications. This reward offers you the chance of meeting Ania and Diab, seeing the work in progress, the original archival prints, and choosing an image, format and size for the artwork.

    Production costs and framing of works over 60" x 40", vinyl and supersized editions or site specific commissions will be agreed and added to your pledge after your meeting with the artist. This reward will also include a signed copy of the book, specially made slip-case designed and produced at Book Works, with your name listed in the book and on the website - we will check first if you are happy with this.

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Funding period

- (30 days)