Ministry of Culture

"Passion for Reading" by Hayat Karanouh

The exhibition will take place in Rene Moawad’s garden (Sanayeh) from August 11 to 21, 2009 everyday from 7am to 7pm.

This exhibition is produced in collaboration with the Lebanese Ministry of Culture during the cultural events of Beirut World Capital 2009. It is an extract of "Passion for Reading" published by Dar An-Nahar, 2005 and authored by Alexandre Najjar. Karanouh’s photographs have been exhibited in Beirut, Francfort, Paris and Washington.
 “It is said that reading may be rapidly on the decline. The book is in peril of being passed over in favor of television and new technology. Yet reading offers inexpressible pleasure, it enriches the soul and the spirit and offers an open door to the imagination, to another place.

The book is also synonymous with freedom and rebellion. While it educates and entertains, it allows the reader to set himself free. Suitably titled "Passion for Reading", this exhibition pays homage above all to the book and to reading, at a time when readers can be seen as figures of resistance. Beginning in Lebanon, the birthplace of the alphabet, Hayat Karanouh shares with us her vision and passion for books and reading as she invites us through hundreds of photographs. The quality of her images in black and white or color, combined with her acute perception and ability to communicate emotions, place Hayat among the most contemporary of Arab photographers. ” Alexandre Najjar

Hayat Karanouh, trained as economist, she chose to devote herself to photography and turn her passion into a career. In 2001 she published her first book on the culture and traditions of South Lebanon, titled And the Smile Remains… (Dar An-Nahar). Next she produced the photographs for the publication Lebanon Shot Twice (Dar An-Nahar, 2003), and co-signed with  Alexandre Najjar the publications Passion for Reading (Dar An-Nahar, 2005) and Passion for Football (Librairie Antoine, 2006). She has exhibited her works in individual and collective exhibitions in Lebanon and abroad, and has been the recipient of several awards.

Alexandre Najjar, is the author of numerous books which have been translated into several languages. Among them are historical novels including The Exiles of Caucasus (Grasset, 1995, Literary Prize of Asia, 1996), The Story of Beirut (Plon, 2008) and Phenicia (Plon, 2005, Prize of Mediterranee, 2009); biographies (including Gibran, Pygmalion, 2001); and a novel about the war in Lebanon, The School of War (La Table Ronde, 2006). Awarded several literary distinctions, he is also a lawyer and editor of the L'Orient litteraire. Najjar has also served as advisor to several of Lebanon’s Ministers of Culture and is considered one of the top writers of his generation.