Cuban Born, American Artist Jorge Rodríguez Gerada is in Beirut and has just finished a mural in the district of Bachoura on a building, that is riddled with bullet holes, before it will be demolished to make room for new construction, something we are accustomed to in Beirut where gentrification is in full bloom, and seeing a lot of the old buildings disappearing is simply heartbreaking.
“Many societies have been shadowed lately by wars and conflicts, putting a tremendous weight on children’s education and future. Gerada’s concepts have been long driven by social parameters. Titled “Connection” the mural portrays a young boy exploring an Arduino board, alluding to the essential need for innovation and education in building a better future for the society.
After the conflicts that have violently marked the city of Beirut, and with Bachoura being once the front line of the devastating 1975 Civil war. the area is now being brought back to life by Beirut Digital District. Beirut is witnessing an incredible and hopeful metamorphosis.” – Jorge Rodríguez Gerada.
In my opinion, Beirut Digital District, like many before them, only caters for the rich and nobody else. Unlike what Jorge said, they are not bringing back life to Beirut but rather erasing years of memories, history and character to the city, to make room for commercial real estate or high-end condominiums that only the rich can afford.
Born in Cuba in 1966, raised in the US and currently residing in Barcelona, Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada is a visual artist internationally known for his innovative artistic work and for the multiplicity of technics that he applies in his prolific production.
Rodríguez-Gerada creates huge works in the public space, with a meditative component that is provoked when citizens walk over his pieces, obtaining a personal experience at ground level with art as the creative and social base.
His work, created in extraordinary large scales, is visible from space and needs to be photographed from the sky, even by satellites. The dimension of the artwork is intrinsic to the importance of what is being said, from questioning complex social issues, such as identity, human rights or climate change.
He has created his work in diverse places: Amsterdam, New Zealand, London, Sao Paulo and Bahrain are just a few examples. He has exhibited in galleries such as Galería N2 (Barcelona) and Galerie MathGoth (Paris) and has been part of prestigious publications about urban art such as the TATE Gallery catalogue in London, Street Art. The Graffiti Revolution (Cedar Lewisohn, 2008) o Designing Obama (Scott Thomas, 2009).