Lara Baladi

"Ritual is a tender anchor. Through repetition we find comfort in an otherwise uncertain reality. It is this essence of ritual that is explored in Diary of the Future, an ensemble work, which emerged from the time preceding the death of my father.

The Arab tradition of reading the future from the residue left after drinking Turkish coffee was a perfect vehicle to record this period. My father’s visitors unwittingly became part of an elaborate ceremony. I documented and archived this process chronologically. This inventory graces Rose, the large scale digital montage, central to Diary of the Future; a diary of individual lives running parallel yet interlaced, crossing each other and echoed in the deltas and rivulets fixed within the cups.

Our past, present and future are entwined. Just as the formations in the cups would differ from one day to the next, so our futures are defined by a constantly shifting present. Diary of the Future points to an intangible yearning we feel in the face of mortality. The cups, ex-votos (out of a promise), hint at a desire for something eternal. But change is our only certainty."

Egyptian-Lebanese artist Lara Baladi was born in Beirut, raised in Paris and educated in London. She has lived and worked in Cairo since 1997.
The amalgamation of her experiences – production manager in advertising photography, radio animator, photojournalist, archival researcher as a member of the Arab Image Foundation, magazine editorial director, and curator for exhibitions and artist residencies – has carried over into her art practice. Her work ranges from photography, video, prints, visual montages, installations and architectural constructions to tapestries and perfume. In 2011, with a group of activists, she launched radiota7rir.com, the first free speech Egyptian radio. Baladi’s work has been widely published and exhibited, and is held in public and private collections around the world. She was awarded the Grand Nile Prize at the Cairo Biennial 2008/09. Lara Baladi is represented by the Townhouse Gallery, Brancolini & Grimaldi Gallery, and Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai.

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