For the past five months, Lebanon has witnessed a destructive trinity of massive fires, road floods, and raging fury, atop its regular everyday struggles. It’s amazing what this 10,452 km² piece of land has withstood thus far, and even more astounding how it always seems to get back up on its feet, no matter what.
From the devastating and hellish fires that were deemed “the worst in decades”, to the consequent fury of a nation that birthed the “October 17 Movement”, Lebanese people have once again proven that they are resilient to their very core. Standing tall in the face of all adversities, Lebanon has well-earned its uncanny resemblance to the mythological Phoenix, an immortal bird that will always arise from the ashes.
As an ode to Lebanese people’s unbreakable nature and their unmatched strength in tumultuous times, Exotica has launched an awe-inspiring collection, titled #WeTheUnburnt. The movement was created in support of the Association for Forests, Development and Conservation (AFDC), and was completed with the help of 15 local emerging and extremely talented artists. Each of Adra Kandil, Cindy Daccache, Diane Ayoub, Ghaleb Hawila, Michelle Khalil, Mira Diab, Negib Kesrouani, Omar Al Fil, Pascale Hares, Sasha Haddad, Tania Khazzaka, Thierry Chehab, Yasmine Darwiche, Zeina-Bacardi Sakr, and Nour Flayhan were selected to take on the Exotica challenge of artistically portraying their definition of what it means it to be “unburnt”.
Using charred pots that had fallen victim to a fire in the Exotica main warehouse in Zouk Mosbeh early in December as their canvas, the artists put their brushes and their creativity to the test. Bringing back brilliant color to what was once black and dull, the entire process was reflective of the country’s hardiness. The outcome was magical – to say the least – a true symbolism of finding beauty in destruction.
“Life after life”, “Light of the Revolution”, “Seventeen”, “Rebirth”, and more, each pot told a powerful story, all with one subject matter in common: an unbreakable and unburnt nation. All 15 pots were equally glorious, shedding light on a variety of themes, including: the vibrant colors of a concrete city, the mighty crowds who took to the streets on October 17, the anger of a country breaking free of its long-held chains, the powerful Lebanese women who proved that the revolution truly is female, and the re-birth of a Lebanon that was kicked down one too many times.
We can sense the creative brains of Leo Burnett and MSL behind this initiative with Exotica. An embodiment of the saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, #WeTheUnburnt campaign aims to signify the unparalleled sense of undying fortitude that has always flourished in Lebanon, especially following the recent hardships. This is not the first creative campaign that Exotica has presented over the years of its being, and certainly not the last.
Be it a special occasion like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s, or even a misfortune like the burning down of their warehouse, Exotica have always been at the top of their game, successfully and continuously seeking ways to find beauty in everything, even in flames.
And you, how would you define #unburnt?
Submitted by Fatima Al Mahmoud, Editor.