Eli Rezkallah

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Eli Rezkallah
Eli Rezkallah.JPG
Born
Elias Rezkallah

(1986-02-18) February 18, 1986 (age 35)
Lebanon
NationalityLebanese
CitizenshipLebanon
Occupation
  • Visual artist
  • Photographer
  • Director
Years active2004-present
Known forFounder and creative director of Plastik Magazine and Plastik Studios
Awards
  • Premier Print Award (2010)
  • Golden Award (2010)
Websiteelirezkallah.com

Eli Rezkallah (born Elias Rezkallah; February 18, 1986) is a Lebanese visual artist, fine art and commercial photographer and director and the founder and creative director of Plastik Magazine and Plastik Studios.[1] His work typically juxtaposes pure, flawless beauty with off-putting melancholia and lethargy.[2][3]

Early life

Rezkallah was born in Lebanon during the country's civil war (1975 - 1991). He grew up in an isolated, gated community sheltered from the conflict. It was in this oasis of calm that he observed his mother and other women in the compound putting on a brave face and dressing up every day, trying to live an everyday life while pretending there wasn't a war raging outside.[2] They created their own alternate reality but had nowhere to go, and there was a sadness and a sense of melancholy about them, [1][2][3] and this became a recurring theme in Rezkallah's work: women using denial as a coping mechanism. In an interview with GQ, Rezkallah said, "My work unconsciously (and consciously) tackles this coping mechanism whereby things appear to be well-groomed on the outside, only to reveal a sense of doom on the inside. Unprocessed emotions are universal. That is why a lot of people relate".[2]

Career and influences

Rezkallah began his career as a fashion show producer in 2004 and soon branched out as a visual artist and launched his creative agency, Plastik Studios in 2008, followed closely by Plastik Magazine, the Middle East's first visual arts magazine, in 2009.[1] The publication served as a platform for Rezkallah to showcase his work and highlight the work of like-minded, emerging artists and of LGBTQ artists.[3][4]

Rezkallah states, "My biggest motivator and inspiration has always been to add color to the world. Surrounding myself with beauty was a way for me to survive the grimness of the Lebanese war [in 2006]… Things around me appeared dark, gloomy, asymmetrical, ungroomed and chaotic. Looking at my work, you can clearly see that I try to counter that. It's my way of infusing my environment with happiness."[2]

Plastik magazine

In 2015, Plastik featured American pop star, singer and actress Miley Cyrus on the cover after Cyrus reached out to Rezkallah on social media, proposing a collaboration.[3][2] The following year Paris Hilton was on the cover.[3]

In 2019, in an interview with Plastik cover star, TV host, drag queen, singer and actor RuPaul stated, "[Plastik's] gift to the world is beauty, color, magic, and imagination. That gift is more important today than ever before."[2]

In a parallel universe

In fall 2017, Rezkallah was at a family Thanksgiving dinner in New Jersey, when one of his uncles said women should remain in their traditional roles in the home, fulfilling their "womanly duties".[5] Rezkallah was shocked and then spurred to imagine a parallel universe where "gender roles are inverted, and men are given a taste of their sexist poison".[6] He recreated vintage ads from the 1950s and 60s with gender roles swapped to illustrate the absurdity of inequality.[7] The series, titled 'In a Parallel Universe', went viral and received global media coverage.[8][9]

August 4th explosion

On August 4th, 2020, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history ripped through Beirut port, causing severe damage to the Gemmayze and Mar Mikhael area where Plastik’s offices are located. The offices were destroyed and Rezkallah also sustained damage to his home.[4]

Fundraiser with Saint Hoax

The day after the blast, Rezkallah collaborated with Syrian artist Saint Hoax to launch a fundraiser to help artists, small businesses and Plastik Studios in the Gemmazye rebuild and restart.[10][11]

Creatives for lebanon

On August 7th, Rezkallah and 9 other Lebanese creatives in diaspora came together and formed Creatives for Lebanon whose mission is to support creative communities and artists in Lebanon impacted by the Beirut blast.[12]

LGBTQ

Rezkallah’s work highlights marginalized communities in the Middle East, confronting gender norms and highlighting issues of diversity and inclusivity.[12]

He has featured international drag queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race on the covers of Plastik magazine and hosted them to perform at events and parties in Lebanon.[13]

Plastik studios

Rezkallah has worked on creative commercial projects that include global campaigns for international brands including:

Exhibitions

  • Adler Subhashok Gallery Bangkok 2015 [19]
  • Art Palm Beach 2015 [20]
  • Art Singapore 2016 [21]
  • Monumental - Saint Hoax - 2018 [22]

Films

  • Dare Greatly – documentary short[23]

Awards

  • 2010 - Premier Print Award in New York by the Printing Industries of America Inc.[24]
  • 2010 - Golden Award for "Best Publication in the Middle East" by the DCCI Printing & Publishing Group at the Dubai International Printing Awards.[25]

Eli Rezkallah in the media

  

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Carter, Felicity. "Founder Of Plastik, Eli Rezkallah Shares His Favorite Artworks That Evoke Happiness". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 AL HADETHI, RAND (September 10, 2020). "Enter Eli Rezkallah's Galaxy Of Surrealism". GQ Middle East.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "Eli Rezkallah talks breaking artistic boundaries and founding Plastik magazine". HUNGER TV. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Villamizar, Alex Leff, Laura Beltrán. "'Lots Of Destruction, But This Is The Future': Photos Inside The Homes Of Beirut". www.kpcw.org. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  5. Ro, Crystal. "This Artist Re-Created Sexist Vintage Ads With The Roles Reversed And It's Too Perfect". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  6. Wanshel, Elyse (2018-01-18). "Artist Gives Vintage Ads A Feminist Makeover By Swapping Gender Roles". HuffPost. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  7. "Étiquette : Eli Rezkallah". parismatch.be (in français). Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  8. Baker, Sam (2020-10-12). "Sabine Getty launches charity to help rebuild Lebanon's community". Mail Online. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  9. Russo, Gianluca. "This artist recreated sexist ads from the 1950s with the gender roles reversed — and the results were shocking". Insider. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  10. "Raising funds for small businesses/artists impacted by the Beirut explosion". FundRazr. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  11. "Saint Hoax and Plastik Magazine Join Forces to Support Beirut's Struggling Artists". Mille World. 2020-08-10. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "How Creatives For Lebanon Is Helping Rebuild Lebanon's Creative Community". Vogue Arabia. 2020-10-08. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  13. Loveluck, Louisa (2019-01-28). "Beirut's fearless drag queens defy Middle Eastern conservatism". The Washington Post.
  14. "Swatch Gets a "Glam" Makeover with Sasha Velour". www.out.com. 2018-11-06. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  15. CM. "Kipling in the color world". Label Magazine. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  16. "Aquazzura shoes: eccellenza italiana, cuore colombiano". THE DUCKER (in italiano). 2020-04-15. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  17. "Marzook Fall 2018 Has Landed". Vogue Arabia. 2018-03-22. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  18. "Celebrating Uniqueness is at the Core of This Local Label's Handmade Leather Accessories". Vogue Arabia. 2019-12-12. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  19. "SAC Gallery | "Life in Plastik"". SAC Gallery. 2015-07-20. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  20. "Awfully Unnatural: Plastik World in the Project of Eli Rezkallah". Bird In Flight. 2015-06-29. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  21. "Adler Subhashok Gallery Bangkok at Art Stage Singapore 2016 | Adler Subhashok Gallery Bangkok | Artsy". www.artsy.net. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  22. "Plastik Gallery | Saint Hoax MonuMental – Jdeed". Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  23. "A Dare Greatly Story". Beiruts Bright Side. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  24. "Plastik Magazine's Lady in The Loo". TRENDLAND | Online Trend News. 2015-03-25. Retrieved 2020-11-09.
  25. "Eli Rezkallah: Life in Plastik". Retrieved 2020-11-09.

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