Forbidden Encounters

Maria Kassab
From 17/02/2023 to 02/04/2023

For her first exhibition at that’s what x said, Maria Kassab presents one of her most recent series to date, Forbidden Encounters. In this body of work, Maria uses black ink, acrylic, and felt pen on paper, imbuing the series with a diary-like drawing aesthetic. Forbidden Encounters addresses female frustration and struggle with being sexually outspoken, especially in the MENA region. Patriarchal structures tend to oppress and treat these women as immoral and distasteful. The series is a fictional narrative responding to these realities transforming them into short stories and miniature-like poems. Her naïve drawings portray intimate dialogues, desires, and idealisation of the sexes. Each narrative presents different characters, a main character that is half-animal and half-human, inspired by The Centaurides, as well as different animals, all embodying sexual liberation. The illustrative journal of encounters narrates and transforms these desires into a suggestive manual where the viewer explores a folkloric layer of intimacy and fetichism.


Maria Kassab is a Lebanese interdisciplinary artist based in Berlin, where she completed her Master of Art in Photography at the BTK Arts & Design University Berlin. In her work she mainly focuses on the political and cultural climate in Lebanon and the MENA region using photography, image manipulation, and video as her dominant mediums. Her work has been published and exhibited internationally, notably in Beirut, Paris, Washington DC, Copenhagen, Brussels, Palermo, and Berlin. She is currently researching contrasting visual languages while exploring different mediums such as painting and drawing. For Maria Kassab, “when I look at the work, I realize there is a continuity regarding the exploration of the self and what surrounds it, the following themes such as displacement, traumatic memories, and social issues always navigate in my world. They are never dissociated but rather, they build themselves consistently more like a thread of events using multiple mediums connecting them together.”

Works by Maria Kassab

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