Saloua Raouda Choucair

In 1998, Solidere, a private real-estate company charged with the urban renewal of central Beirut, bought Choucair’s Bench (1998), a 17-piece articulated bench in stone, which took its place as a novel piece of urban furniture in the city’s Mir Amin Square. Configured in a half-moon curve consisting of irregularly fashioned components, the work looks like a huddle of jovial monoliths. At installation, Solidere split the bench into two uneven parts, interrupting the enfolding, semicircular sweep and foiling Choucair’s geometric flourish. For years, the bench was covered in black graffiti, a forlorn eyesore in a nearly vacant square, a severed modern relic brooding below an ancient tree—it was finally cleaned in 2012.

Date: 1998
Location: Downtown
Medium: Sculpture, Urban furniture
Material: Stone
Section: Modern
Duration: Permanent
Tags: Public sculpture
Authorizations: Solidere
Commissioner: Artist-led initiative