Batoul Ballout

Through my work, I seek to construct an emotional archive that captures my personal and familial histories. Growing up in Lebanon and later immigrating to the USA triggered my work to act as a mechanism for archiving and rebuilding. I consider each painting to be a repository of life as I experience it in the present, live with its past remnants, and long for its future. I explore what it means to be— to experience life in all that it offers and to heal. I express how it is to live with the scars of war, the ache of separation, and the hope that emerges through simple acts like kindness or defiance. I often refer to memory in all its facets, cherished, repressed, suppressed, lost, etc. Thus, my desire to hold on and archive most of my experiences and memories. I use fragmented imagery or personal references and invite the viewer to explore the interconnectedness of personal histories and the transient nature of existence. Music, Literature, and Wandering play a big role in my practice. Lyrics and quotes seep into the work as written text, into titles, or translate themselves as fuel for me to paint. Literature satiates my curiosities in different subjects and genres. Meanwhile, wandering through different places elicits emotions and generates photographs that manifest into paintings. Each of my paintings is a process to dissect life, to heal, and to question where and when, if ever, the tether of home can be reattached.

Originally from Beirut, Lebanon, Batoul Ballout immigrated to the United States in 2014. She earned a BA from Albion College, with a concentration in painting/print-media and a minor in art history. In 2022, Ballout achieved a MFA degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Ballout has been awarded multiple residencies, including VCCA, the Philip C. Curtis Residency, and MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists fellowship.