Tarek Chemaly and a positive ‘WTH’!
By Admin I: First of all, we’d be lucky as a blog if you’re loyal brofessional readers, and you’ve never heard about Tarek Chemaly! Evil laugh gets cut by reality: who in this field doesn’t know the guy behind Beirut ntsc, a blog that started years ago, and managed to become a reference to the advertising field. Tarek is a blogger, instructor, and a very eclectic visual artist as well; yes, we’re stating it! You might have considered his visual works (mainly produced with paint brush and co softwares) primitive, poor or just amateurs, but call me weird, I do honestly think that this guy managed to make a very unique line of visual works, something very pop, kitsch, not the commercial way, but the very personalized!
This wicked visual interpretation came even more experimental with the release of many videos, such as ‘Moulinex el Hobb’ that got online only 2 weeks ago: the video is a mix and (mis)match of images, because to Tarek, the whole approach came as a reminder to how radio stations were submerging the mass with happy-go-lucky songs, while they were actually hearing them in the shelter – hence the sometimes dark mood of the video.
Interestingly, it is also a reach out to the fake-nostalgia of Lebanon (Switzerland of the Middle East and all that fallacy) as everyone is trying to romanticize a past which probably never was there (Or was there for a certain elite which was living in a bubble).
Tarek states: the bottom line is always the same: In a country so deeply divided, where everything is polarized, going back to pop culture (songs, advertising jingles, brands) could be a way to link us all back to one another through a collective memory which is the mesh of the fiber of society.
‘Moulinex el Hobb’, a 14-minute long musical is an engaging experimental piece emerging from
the 80s with the most popular hits being incorporated in a monologue about a Lebanese macho man’s (mis)adventures with women. This comes as a sequel to popular monologues about advertising jingles released earlier along with many other visual attempts.
So to set things straight, we are not here advertising Chemaly as an individual (he’s a competitor you know, *hairflip*) and we’re super certain that the guy can advertize himself quite well; we’re just exposing what we think is an interesting visual attempt, a merge between cultural design and a reach to narrative and innovative storytelling techniques. Pop art should remain pop, done by whoever decides to experiment and addressing a social collective memory; we have earlier featured the super talented Raed Yassin, and what Tarek does is quite a different approach but both contributing to our visual literacy.
It’s time for true Lebanese Pop art, les mecs!