Performing different lives in Chaza Charafeddine's series of Portraits


  • Yasmine Nachabe Taan


An    ongoing   system   of   slavery   supported    by   the   Ministry   of   Labor   in Lebanon  is seen by human rights activists as a widespread staggering social issue that leaves a growing community of female migrant-domestic-workers in Lebanon with no legal rights to escape abusive employers and poor working conditions while enduring sexual, verbal and physical abuse on daily basis.Within the discourse of power, the Beirut-based  artist, Chaza Charafeddine  (born 1964) chose to destabilize this dynamic  of power in Maidames, a series of portraits that depicts a number of domestic workers in Lebanon dressed up as TV celebrities and  popular  figures  in  glamorous  settings.  This paper  examines   how Charafeddine's portraits attempt to reverse roles by reshuffling the system of visual dynamics  to  offer an  alternative, open  dialogue  for the  purpose  of  negotiating identities.  Play-acting,  theatricality  and  props  are  evident  throughout Charafeddine's portraiture  practice. By portraying female domestic workers in assertive poses, confronting  their viewer, Charafeddine  aims  at restoring their individuality. The women's  performance  in these portraits becomes the subject of the  picture.   Yet   there  is  an   inescapable  hint   of  ambivalence,  tension,  even perversity beneath their cheery performance. Charafeddine's practice of portraiture raises questions about photography in relation to aesthetics and ethics that will be addressed in this paper. The work will be analyzed  at the level of production  and perception drawing  from  cross-disciplinary  approaches  related  to art,  sociology, and feminism within the context of the Middle East.

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Taan, Y. N. (2019). Performing different lives in Chaza Charafeddine’s series of Portraits. Revelar: Revista De Estudos Da Fotografia E Imagem, 3. Obtido de