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Lebanese photographer Ieva Saudargaite Douaihi takes a poetic look at the rising waters

Photographer from Beirut, Ieva Saudargaite Douaihi is invited to the festival "Les femmes s'exposent". In residence at Houlgate, she worked on the phenomenon of rising waters.

If she had already visited France in her youth, on vacation, Ieva Saudargaite Douaihi, Lebanese photographer and artist, discovered Houlgate (Calvados) two weeks ago, arriving in residence for the Les femmes s'exposent festival. "I'm so into the practice, it was hard to imagine what I was going to discover here," she smiles. I got ready on Google Street to understand the city but it was still very different when I arrived. »

Between architecture and photography

This 33-year-old photographer grew up in Lithuania, then in the United Arab Emirates, surrounded by a Lithuanian mother and a Lebanese stepfather. If she had already visited Lebanon on vacation, during her youth, she decided to live there when she came of age. After studying architecture, this photography enthusiast then launched herself, working with architecture journals, but also developing "a work of passion" on the side, says the one who defines herself as a visual artist, touching both photography than to other practices. She has notably produced a short film and installations. In the photo, "it's the city, the buildings that interested me," she says.

In recent years, she has worked on various projects, notably on the city of Beirut between 2014 and 2019. “I take pictures of fairly banal things, but there is always something behind them”. For example, she did a whole series on trees in Beirut "to talk about our roots, what it means to be alone or in a rather difficult environment", she comments: "The trees fight against their eviction, they resist, even if we mistreat them”. One of his series that has not yet been exhibited focuses on the diaspora, on “Lebanese at home, abroad”.

A specific “language” to talk about the future

Arriving in Houlgate, Ieva Saudargaite was immediately captivated by the sea.

Every day is different, depending on the wind, the light, the waves, the tides, what you find on the sand. It reminds me of the situation in Lebanon where we live from day to day, without knowing what will happen the next day.

A coastal landscape that differs from the one she knows well, in Beirut. "It's a city on the sea, but we don't really have access to it," she describes. We have a large port which takes up a lot of space, there is a promenade, without a beach. And it's polluted. »

In residence at Houlgate, and discovering the phenomenon of the tides, she decided to turn her work towards “climate change and rising waters”. Through walks, explorations and wanderings on the beach and in the streets of the city, she found "the language" to speak of this future "which we do not know if it is near or far", in mixing photography and "digital collage", seascapes and the seaside architecture of Houlgate, the futuristic and the poetic. Images where Ieva composes with buildings, the sea and shells, playing on scales. "By doing this with the shells, we do not understand if they are structures, landscape or animals that walk around", she remarks.

A look oscillating between fantasy and science fiction, revealing a situation that could happen if the man did not react. And as in her previous works, without too much human presence, the photographer says a lot about their stories, thanks to the buildings and the landscapes. “Photographing people, I rarely do. I find that where we live, it already speaks a lot about the man”.

SOURCE: By Marie-Madeleine RemoleurPublished on 16 Mar 22 at 17:34


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