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Manal Abu-Shaheen: Mapping Utopia

October 7, 2021 - October 30, 2021

On a sidewalk, before an ad in which a tuxedoed man leans on a cushion, a woman waits, holding a bouquet of flowers. Nearby, a boy leans on a pole, holding a box.

Blue Sky is pleased to announce Mapping Utopia, an exhibition of photographs by Manal Abu-Shaheen.

Artist talk: Saturday, Oct 9, 11 AM – 12 PM | Please visit blueskygallery.org/events to regsiter

Mapping Utopia is a selection of landscape and street photographs from Manal Abu-Shaheen’s ongoing series based in Beirut, where she was born. Shot on location, this series began with exploring advertising and urban construction, two of the driving forces of Beirut’s economy. A decade-long construction boom, aided by foreign investments and neoliberal interest, reshaped the city, rendering it almost unrecognizable. Alongside the development, Abu-Shaheen examines the monumental scale and congestion of western advertising in relationship to the post-war developing urban setting, bringing idealized images of one culture in contact with the realities of another. Motivated by a lack of visual records of the landscape in Lebanon, Abu-Shaheen seeks to build her own photographic archive of what Beirut looks like today: a city dominated by billboards purporting a mythologized western ideal that is incongruous in the post-conflict city.

Image credit: Manal Abu-Shaheen, Picanto Poolside, 2021


Blue Sky


Wheelchair accessible, Service Animals allowed
BIPOC artist(s)
Image Alt Text for Screen Readers
Manal Abu-Shaheen, Picanto Poolside from 2021. A black and white photograph of a street scene from Beirut Lebanon. A Kia Picanto is in the lower left side of the image, and a Toyota is the middle right side of the image. In between the two cards appears to be a poolside advertisement from a lux hotel. In the background are houses and trees.
Event Type
Gallery, Visual Art
Pandemic Info


Blue Sky
122 NW 8th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209 United States
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