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WAVES’ 98 / 15 minute Short film
Disillusioned with his life in the suburbs of segregated Beirut, Omar’s discovery lures him into the depths of the city. Immersed into a world that is so close yet so isolated from his reality that he eventually finds himself struggling to keep his attachments, his sense of home.


   Set between Beirut’s post-war climate of recovery in the 90’s and today’s general sense of crumbling this is Omar’s story. Growing up in Beirut’s suburbs meant that Omar spent his entire teenage years living on the outskirts, having never visited parts of the segregated city or even crossed its borders. His daily life is dominated by the mundane, his parents’ financial problems, and a certain lack of motivation; his only escape being the time he spends gazing at the city from his school’s rooftop. Until, On a cold winter day, Omar unexpectedly witnesses something strange and beautiful. A sort of intense beaming light, shining through the grayness of the city’s landscape, that lures him to venture into the depth of the city. This giant discovery leads him to explore and immerse himself in a world he never knew existed. A world that is so close yet so isolated from his reality that Omar finds himself struggling to keep his attachments, his sense of home…

Waves ’98 won the top prize at the Cannes film Festival, the Palm D’Or in the short film category.


Country: Lebanon/Qatar
Duration: 14′ 50”
Screening Format: DCP
Sound: Stereo
Original Language: Arabic


   Waves ’98 is as much a narrative film as it is a personal visual essay dedicated to Dagher’s hometown, Beirut.
The film is an artistic exploration of the director’s current relation with his Lebanon, his home country, projected through the story of a teenager and set in 1998. Since moving abroad to study and work, Ely Dagher has been spending more and more time outside of Lebanon, and his attachment to Beirut Started to become more and more complicated. The overall Narrative of the film is heavily based on Ely’s efforts to understand his changing relationship with the city and it’s life, juxtaposed with the narrative of a teenager’s exciting discovery of this segregated city.

The Trailer

sister hd
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14 vignettes created by award winning
Artist and Director Ely Dagher
for the release of Model 86’s EP
Self Help Dance Teaser – SHD Out September 18th


holiday inn Apologue 02HOLIDAY INN APOLOGUE 
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holiday inn Apologue 03Mix media installation 6′ 50′′ Ely Dagher

Inside the Holiday Inn hotel, Beirut, one of the last remaining monuments from the ruins of the civil war, a box of images is found in one of the rooms. The images and the audio narratives unravel a series of incidents that might have existed from the hotel’s past.

holiday inn Apologue 01Documentation of the work in progress; the slides.

The foundation of a historical Apologue:

The Holiday inn exists today as one of the few remaining ruins of the civil war in Downtown Beirut, and carries with it memories and images of the war. There is no official recorded history of the civil war and of the Hotel due to the contested nature of the recent Lebanese history. The archive that regulates the Holiday Inn’s and other similar structure’s history and memory is scattered in distant memories, stories and fabrications. One of the only public physical proofs of its history and existence is the building itself, whose future has been in Limbo and at the brink of extinction for many years now. Based on interviews the artist had with militia fighters, this installation recreates a series of events that might have occurred in the hotel during the war; creating a substitute and/or complementary element in memory’s database. The intervention on the topic comes in to tackle the issues of the hotel’s history and memory through the use and construction of their archive and/or archival content.

Documentation of the work in progress; interviews and research.

The semi-fictitious uncanny narrative questions the authorizing power of the elements that constitute the historical archive of the hotel specially once it’s last authentic element, the building itself, seizes to exist. Due to the lack of a single authority in this case and in the case of the Lebanese contemporary history as a whole, the power of consignation is shattered leaving space for alternative notions and elements constituting and constructing the archive. Questions on the authenticity and legitimacy of recorded History and our collective Memory arise when their basis, the archive from which they draw existence are in the hands of the author.

This installation acts as one of these constructing elements.

holiday inn Apologue 04Holiday Inn Apologue, Image extract Holiday Inn Apologue, Image extract.

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OUR GREATEST MONUMENTS 03 installation 6′ 50′′ Ely Dagher london2009

The initial purpose of this project was to look at postcard images of urban monuments outside of their initial frame; through a video camera. An attempt to deconstruct and understand the function and usage of these monuments in relation to their representation within that frame. How important are these Monuments in the urban lanscape? Do they really exist? and if they do what happens once they are gone?

10 videos are loaded in a random order within two video applications (screens). Once playing they can get cut and jump to another video at any given moment creating an arbitrary array and combination of the images.

Watch here

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Stardust after all is a series of paintings representing both the depiction of the natural world and our relationship to it. The intention is to explore the beauty whilst infusing a sense of the grotesque and the artificial, stressing the contradictions of our innate connection and distancing from the natural world.

Black Ink , pen, coloured ink and acrylic ( 2013)

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