This lecture is composed as a series of moments, of issues that affected my trajectory as a person and came to be expressed as an artist. More and more I try to address communities and cities based on themes involving time, dreams and memories. I work to the scale of the city and co-operate with many of its people to realize a project. In the end the work is not absolute; it molds itself relative to the dynamics of the city. It is finished when it takes on its own life in the imagination of city dwellers.
Since we are here to celebrate the opening of an exhibition of Lebanese contemporary art in Washington, I felt the need to define what it is to be Lebanese. I found that we are best expressed by our diversity. Using a personal vocabulary I call ‘urban toys’, I experimentally replaced the cedar tree on the Lebanese flag with a multiplicity of forms, one after another. It struck me that, although its history is very different, diversity would also be the most apt word to describe America, so I transformed each of the fifty stars on the American flag. One of those stars, I suppose, would be Lebanese.