The Curtains of Hope project seeks to bring attention to the millions of people displaced each year by the impacts of floods, tornados, droughts and other natural hazards. In particular, it highlights the challenges of urban displacement, where disaster risk is further exacerbated by unplanned urbanization and population growth.
Jad El Khoury proposes an installation of brightly colored curtains activated by the wind in empty windows of buildings abandoned by disaster displaced people. By animating the frozen towns, he seeks to create large scale expressions of hope to counter the traumatic events that forced people to leave behind their homes and communities.
For those already living in displacement, El Khoury proposes installing the curtains in a way that extends people’s living spaces in cramped, congested urban areas, recognizing that disaster displacement can endure for years.
El Khoury hopes that the images and videos created during these installations will serve as a catalyst for further action to remember those already displaced and to assist people currently suffering from the impacts of disasters and climate change.
Jad El Khoury was born in Beirut 1988, two years before the end of Lebanon’s 15-year civil war. Growing up surrounded by the traces of the unresolved conflict, he observed that his city continued to suffer both physically and psychologically. El Khoury wants to serve as a catalyst to promote healing in his country. Drawing on his background in architecture and graffiti, he occupies contemporary ruins and abandoned buildings by using local, nostalgic, architectural materials to produce kinetic installations animated by the wind, attempting to free structures of their bitter memories.
El Khoury is currently a master’s student in Art and Public Space at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts in Norway. His project Curtains of Hope was selected as a 2019 COAL Prize finalist.
El Khoury’s work was presented at the UN climate change conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain in December 2019 following his selection as one of the 2019 COAL Prize finalists, announced at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France that same year.
Curtains of Hope