A self-taught artist, painting almost intuitively from recollection, memory and imagination rather than observation, Tanbak's surface paintings, sometimes monochromatic and often executed with found materials and raw unmixed pigments, are architectural installations cum sculpture-paintings. Erstwhile researching the remnants of war in Beirut during the reconstruction era after the artist moved back to the city, in red and black sands found in construction sites, and then subsequently exploring different memory environments dug out of a multicultural history; the background of the Armenian genocide, homelessness, the Lebanese wars and a world in constant turmoil. Tanbak's most recent work, a large piece of which is on display in this presentation, somewhere between color field and topographical survey, draws on her memories from the Armenian ghetto of the 1960s. This work reflects on a country where there have been always temporary guests, slums and refugee camps on the margins of our cities: Armenians, Palestinians, Iraqi, Syrians.
Tanbak was born in 1954 in Beirut, and has lived across different continents, practicing art in Lebanon since the end of the Civil War; a self-taught artist working across painting and installation, with a particular interest on conceptual approaches to history, she has been widely exhibited in Lebanon, at the Sursock Museum (1998, 2000, 2003) and at Agial (2002).