Shopping Cart


Your shopping bag is empty

Go to the shop

Story 1- Art in the time of war

By : Suzy Kazzi Barhoush 0 comments
Story 1- Art in the time of war

This is my first blog in a series that is yet to come, one that will tell the fuller story of Suzy.B as a brand and how my journey into the world of art evolved over the years.

I would be lying if I tell you that during my childhood, I was always surrounded by brushes and paints. It is not true. Drawing papers and paint were available just like in every other traditional household, where “a bit of everything safe” is encouraged, and where TV entertainment does not start before 6PM, announcing its daily arrival with that sphere filled with magical brightly colored blocks sitting on a boring grid.

Never understood why it existed but was always happy to see it popping as I knew something exciting is about to start on TV.


This was not a rule that my mother imposed. Only my generation of Lebanese fellows will understand what I am saying here. TV used to broadcast from 6PM to late in the night (I wouldn’t know the exact time because I was not supposed to be awake past the 8pm news bulletin time, even on weekends!)

The national TV channel (and only one in the 80s) would first tease us with a 15-minute broadcast of the colored screen saver, then we would get to see the face of a beautiful female anchor who will announce the list of shows for the day.

After that we would watch the only kids-relevant cartoon show with weird Japanese writings in the last frame of the opening credits (which we could never justify) dubbed into classic Arabic. That’s why, unlike Gen Z, our generation is able to speak two words of classic Arabic (Fos7a).

I was like all children my age in the 80s, reaching out to white drawing papers (not canvas) and pens to sketch scenes from my day to day events in a war-torn Lebanon, whenever playing outside was not an option, or when playing house with my dolls got boring.

Unlike today, back in the 80s, children “knew for sure" if they were girls or boys. It was not hurtful to be referred to as She if you had a female body. It was not shameful for girls to play with dolls and wear pink and boys to play with cars and guns and wear blue.

Guns (plastic ones) and those little green soldier figurines were in every household, and sometimes made part of girls’ toys collection too.

 Plastic Green Soldiers from the 1980s

Back to the drawing part (I can easily get distracted, have you noticed?), apart from playing cards and Monopoly, drawing was the only thing we as kids could do in the shelter, to keep our young mind away from the terrifying sounds of the bombs wrecking the city around us.

Let’s be honest, it was the only thing we were permitted to do as it can be done quietly and in silence (if you are well behaved like my sister and I were).

Silence was a must at those moments, for the adults in the family needed to estimate whether the bomb was being launched or is landing near us. That difference in the sound, which kids soon became experts identifying, makes a whole difference. A difference between life and death.

It means that either death is falling on “others” or is happening to people around you.

Silence was also needed because the adults had to listen carefully to the “breaking news” updating us on the number of casualties and what the war lords decide for our future. But for us kids, those breaking news alerts which were called “Flash” in Lebanon were equally important for us too, because they often announced the happy news of school closure. (The sound of these Flashes still gives dreadful memory flashes to many people today). 

The only art we could exercise during these circumstances was the art of living, or more correctly, the art of survival. Surviving raids and sniper shots was all the art families needed to master…

But we grew up, and our parents grew 10 times older than they should. Koleston and Tranxene 10 mg became every women’s best friend. Gradually a whole generation of 25 to 40-year-old females became addicted to the anxiety disorder relief medicine (which was often called Trente-cinq instead by the neighbours; French for the number 35) and hair dyes to hide the horrifying fear effects on one’s once-black-now-turned-grey-hair. 

Today I am in my 40s, and only now I can imagine how disturbing this experience is for anyone, let alone a single mother raising two toddlers all by herslef, not by choice, but because death chose to take her partner, the pillar of the family, my beloved father when I was only 1 year old!


To be continued.

Tags :
categories : News

Related post