Marie Khouri (Canada/France)


ARTIST: Marie Khouri
MEDIUM: Polyurethane with a hard coat
DIMENSIONS: Comprised of three letters, each letter being 13 feet high
WEIGHT: Total of approximately 650 lbs
LOCATION: Vancouver Art Gallery rotunda

Born in Egypt and raised in Lebanon, Marie Khouri has developed a vast range of cultural and historical influences within her practice. Fluent in Arabic, Hebrew, English and French, Khouri fled Beirut with her family in the 1970s during the Lebanese Civil War. She relocated to Spain and Canada, finally settling in Paris where she was classically trained in sculpture at l’École du Louvre.

The artist’s reverence for Arabic, and her early career as an interpreter, informs her interest in utilizing language to explore new connections in art. Khouri’s I LOVE comprises three hand-carved curvilinear forms. Paying homage to the calligraphic nature of Arabic letters in her work, Khouri draws inspiration from Henry Moore’s sensuous sculptures and Zaha Hadid’s organic architectural structures.

Each piece is formed through an extensive hands-on process that begins with clay moulded by Khouri that is then scaled up using expanded polystyrene. The enlarged works then undergo vigorous carving and sanding by the artist. As the flowing arabesque-like forms take shape, so do the Arabic letters and message of the artist: I LOVE.