Lebanese Archive

The Project

Lebanese Archive project by artist Ania Dabrowska is inspired by the previously unknown, personal collection of photographs belonging to Diab Alkarssifi, a former photojournalist from Lebanon. The collection consists of his work, family albums, and photographs from studios in Beirut, Damascus and Cairo and covers over 100 years of cultural and political history of Lebanon and the Middle East. It documents his student years in Moscow and Budapest, the Lebanese Civil Wars and local events in his home city of Baalbeck, close to the Syrian border.

This unique collection offers an insight into daily family and professional life, cultural celebrations and political moments at a time in Lebanon’s recent history when many archives have been destroyed or lost in repeated conflicts and civil wars. Alkarssifi came to London in 1993, bringing part of this archive with him.

A chance meeting at Arlington (a London hostel for homeless men and women where Dabrowska had a SPACE residency in 2010-2012) led the artist to conceive a project through which Alkarssifi’s collection might be preserved, re-presented, made accessible to the public and become a catalyst for consideration of archives in contemporary context.

The project includes an artist’s book to be published by Book Works, exhibitions, an archive to be established as part of the Arab Image Foundation Collection in Beirut and a public engagement programme documented on this project website.

The project launched with Ania Dabrowska: Conversations About Archive at the Four Corners Gallery, London (Sept 2013) to be produced in London and Beirut (an artist’s residency at Ashkal Alwan) and due for completion by the end of 2014. A final project exhibition will tour Beirut, London and Warsaw in 2015.
Ania Dabrowska

Born 1973 in Poland, lives in London. Artist with an established international reputation for photography and multi-media projects. She earned First Class Honors BA Degree in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths College, University of London (2001) and an MA Fine Art Photography Degree, LCC, University of the Arts, London (2007).

Her work is underpinned by a long-standing interest in memory, identity, social engagement and collaborative processes. She has exhibited world-wide, and published since 2001. Her work is held in private and public collections. Winner of the Observer Hodge Photographic Award, 2003, selected for the National Portrait Gallery Photographic Portrait Award, 2007, and awarded The Wellcome Trust People Award, 2008-11.

Diab Alkarssifi

Born 1951, Baalbeck, Lebanon, a retired photojournalist, collector and writer. In 1975 Alkarssifi moved to Moscow, Russia to study Philosophy and Media. He was forced to interrupt his study by an outbreak of war in Lebanon. He worked as a journalist for 16 years for local and national media including Al Nida and Al Akhbar newspapers, New TV, and Sowt Al Shaab Radio Station. He immigrated to the UK in 1993. He has lived in London since 1993.

Design Team

Kelly Weedon – Graphic Designer with experience of developing publication and editorial design, visual identities, art direction and digital projects for a number of cultural institutions, including Whitechapel Gallery, Camden Arts Centre and the V&A.


Archive – Lead by Chris Barrow, a small team of digital designers and developers based in East London. Archive work with clients in corporate and cultural sectors. Archive take a rigorous, creative approach to all their digital output, exploring ways to push the medium technically and creatively to produce engaging, intelligent and highly-crafted websites and applications.