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Artist Spotlight : Celine Layous

Artist Spotlight: Celine Layous

When did you start making art, Celine?

“At the age of 15, we had our first audiovisual class at school. Our teacher Odette Makhlouf didn’t want to begin her class with petty introductions. Instead, she chose to screen Dead Poets Society and I was immediately inspired by that film. When we think about being in an academic system, we are uniformed creatures that cannot recognize themselves among others. Odette however, was able to make us understand that somehow, our individual opinions mattered. Even though we didn’t accept the world as it was, we could always try and change things, or at least people’s way of looking at things. I gradually learned that as a cinematographer, I have the power to briefly replace people’s perceptions with mine. With that foundation, I completely disregarded more conventional disciplines and committed to a degree in filmmaking, regardless of what our school pushed us to become, in an environment where art had so little value.”

What kind of art do you do?

“I have mainly worked as a cinematographer and camera operator on various formats in the MENA region. Now based in Los Angeles, I continue to build my career in the visual arts.” 

What is your work about?

“My photography strives for honesty, attempting to reflect the hopes and horrors of everyday life. My narrative instincts are supported by my past experiences — working in documentary, live concert videography and my years as a paramedic in the Lebanese Red Cross. I try to create bold, dazzling and when appropriate, disorienting visuals. My attraction to these images stems from the lessons I’ve learned from the people, experiences and conflicts I encountered growing up in Beirut. People tend to look away from the obscure and I believe filmmaking has an ongoing power to guide audiences’ eyes towards these disregarded realities.”

This weekly “Worth the Talk” was written by art curator Zalfa Halabi 

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