Chapter 3



01_What can you do.JPG


What Can You Do?

شو فيك تعمل؟

شو فيكي تعملي؟


This hand is signed by the hand of the artist. It has as many uses as a little iron sculpture of a hand can have.

08_What door can you open.jpg


What Door Can You Open?

أيا باب بتفتحي؟

أيا باب بتفتح؟


These three keys have the power to unlock doors, despite the fact that they lie here in this case beneath the glass. It is possible, in fact, that their power has multiplied since they were first used in locks that no longer exist.



06_What do you see.JPG


What Do You See?

شو شايف؟

شو شايفي؟


What are you seeing right now?

What is the most difficult thing you saw in your life?


05_How long have you been here.jpg


How Long Have You Been Here?

أدّي صرلك هون؟


If they could speak would we ever get the true story of these two figures? People tend to speak of them with admiration and a little bit of affectionate jealousy. They are generally seen as having endured and weathered the vicissitudes of life from the privileged position of being bound together by love. When asked what songs came to mind while standing before this couple, most people named standard love songs.

The question remains: will the kiss that has stood the test of time, carry these figures through eternity?


05_How long have you been here.jpg


Are You Telling The Truth?

عم تقول الحقيقة؟

عم تقولي الحقيقة؟


Although this face lies here under glass, shielded from our hands, many souls have taken on its cracked features and lent it a voice.

07_What are you worth.jpg


What Are You Worth?

أدّي قيمتك؟


There are differing opinions as to the value of this money. To many viewers the gold coins have more value because they are gold and they shine. To other viewers, the larger, darker ones are worth more

Long before they entered these display cases, these coins  participated in numerous transactions.

“it bought a cow.” 

"It bought cloth to make robes.”

In the context of the museum we could view these coins as units of exchange. If you could break the glass and take them out what would you buy? If these coins were taken outside the museum and into the streets of Beirut, would they still function as money?

03_Are you ruined.jpg


Are You Ruined?

هل تدمرّت؟

هل تدمرّتي؟


Given the beauty and precision of the design on this jar, the slight red mark to the right side of the inner circle seems to be unintentional, like an inadvertent splash of color. Does this apparently accidental addition ruin the jar? 

Some artists experience irritation when there’s a mistake in their work and they could want the work to be destroyed.  If the artist who made this jar came back from the past and asked a group of visitors to the museum to break the jar, would they?

02_Where are you coming from.jpg


Where Are You Coming From?

من وين جايي؟


Found among a group of monkeys, hippopotamuses, and grotesque figures in strange positions, this little creature seems to come from another planet. His power and energy radiate throughout this glass case, even though he can’t move or dance because he doesn’t have legs. When visitors stand in front of him, he seems to be addressing them without moving his mouth or blinking: "I have a lot of power/a big head it takes in a lot/ people are strange/they look at me strangely."

"I dance on my hands? I speak over a hundred languages."

Despite his alien appearance, which can certainly seem frightening, there are experts who ascribe a different background to him: " He’s Egyptian. He helps woman deliver by making them laugh.”

09_Where are you going.jpg


Where Are You Going?

لوين رايحين؟




11_What did they say.jpg


What Did They Say?

في شي بدَّك تقولو؟

في شي بدِّك تقولي؟


On November 21, 2017 a group of college students came upon this letter. As readers of the past and writers of the future, they considered what someone might have written to them almost a thousand years earlier and what they themselves would choose to write to a generation who may read their letter a thousand years hence.

When asked where one should hide a letter that one would want to survive the ages to be read by people in a thousand years, one contemporary British writer responded: “In a museum.”