Exhibition Dates: 4th - 14th August 2021


Artist: Sally Souraya



If only we could sweep up a country’s collective pain … 


In August 2020 a huge explosion ripped through the heart of Beirut and tore up whole communities. This unprecedented explosion unbalanced the country and the people that were already on tremoring revolutionary ground. Tonnes of glass were shattered throughout the city and displaced from their natural abode, a testimony to how fragile the situation was and still is. Yet the people were determined to sweep up the shards and painstakingly try to put their country back together. 


Sweeping is a multi-media installation by London-based, Lebanese artist Sally Souraya, exploring the symbolic and practical implications of the act of sweeping in the context of the aftermath of Beirut’s explosion.


Looking through the eyes, and brooms, of those who were on the ground in Beirut cleaning up weeks and months afterwards, Sweeping draws on a collective experience of solidarity, grief, and resilience. In admiration of people’s efforts to restore a sense of stability and safety through sweeping, the exhibition questions whether there is still a place for hope amid all the destructions?


The exhibition also features a performance of the artist’s personal experience in response to the aftermath, by taking the act of sweeping to the streets of London, in solidarity with those back home.


The exhibition will be open to the public between 4th and 14th of August 2021, with a private view taking place on the 4th of August to commemorate one year since Beirut’s explosion. 



Sally Souraya is a Lebanese multidisciplinary artist based in London, using visual storytelling, performance and installation art as her main mediums. She has a particular interest in focusing on the artistic process and how it unfolds as a work in progress. At the intersection between art, anthropology and activism, Sally’s creative practice adopts an experimental approach rooted in observations, words, and movements. Her work is often inspired by and built on daily life narratives, which she captures, develops, recreates, and performs into stories.


Sally has performed in the streets and other public spaces in Lebanon, United Kingdom and China, as a process of catalysing, raising awareness and promoting social change. Her solo performances include: Two sides of the same frame(s) (2021); Sweeping (UK, 2020); Please do not forget your belongings (UK/China, 2019); Empty Fridges (Lebanon, 2019); The lady with the green box (UK, 2018); Plastic Guilt (China, 2017) and two short dance videos installation “My other half” and “Fit in” (UK, 2015).


Sally’s latest photo series include: Hide and Seek (2019), exhibited at Conway Hall, London and A means to a Shelter (2017-ongoing),





Sweeping Creative Team 


Concept, design, and curation: Sally Souraya 


Design and technical support: Jonathan Samuels


Video editing: Lama Chidiac 


Poster photo and design: Hisham Assaad


Text: Farrah Akbik


Translation and subtitles: Sara Berjawi 


Performance footage: Sally Souraya, Jonathan Samuels, Rua A-Taweel and Bara’ah Al Dalati 


Thanks to Zeina Khatib for video editing support.  



For all media enquiries please contact P21 Gallery: info@p21.org.uk, Tel. +44 20 7121 6190




The exhibition is supported by the Art Council England and HUB Collective.