Born on November 5, in Beirut, Lebanon. Daughter of Georges Naufal Sawaya (1919 – 2014) – Oud composer (disciple and then colleague of renown Lebanese Oud composer Farid Ghosn), and Leila Lutfallah (1923 – 2006) ‘Lili’ – head nurse, assisting victims of the Civil War in Lebanon from 1975 till 1990.
Finds in her childhood garden in Ras El Nabeh, a wet canvas, a reproduction of one of Edouard Manet’s paintings, fallen from the neighbour’s balcony. The medium has a strong impact on her.
1967 – 1968
Supported by her brother Michel, she takes her first art lessons with painter Guvder at the Lebanese Fine Arts Academy – later Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts (ALBA) – in Moussaytbeh, Lebanon.
Makes charcoal portraits of communist leaders Lenin and Che Guevara for a student protest against the 1968 Israeli raid on Beirut International Airport.
Studies the work of Théodore Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa and Eugène Delacroix The Orphan Girl at the Cemetery.
After the death of Louis Armstrong, the music of the Jazz Legend, admired by her father and brother, plays day and night in her childhood home.
Completes the Lebanese Baccalaureate in Sciences.
During the summer, she looses her foster-brother Sawaya, closest cousin with whom she listened to Jimmy Hendrix’s music. Sawaya used to offer her a music box every year on her birthday.
April 13, official starting date of the Civil War in Lebanon.
Shot in her right foot by a sniper located in Barakat building on the demarcation line separating West Beirut from East Beirut, on Sodeco crossing.
Marries Georges Khoury (Jad) comics and animation artist, in June.
Shifts major from Chemistry to Fine Arts at the Lebanese University.
University trip to Italy then to France getting away from car explosions and assassinations hitting Beirut. Attends a major retrospective on Salvador Dali’s work at Centre Pompidou in Paris. Makes drawing and sketches on daily life.
Completes her Master degree in Fine Arts on aesthetics and comics, with distinction from the Lebanese University.
Birth of her first daughter, Greta, on December 17th.
Starts working on the theme of maternity.
Starts teaching Art at the Collège Protestant Français directed by Françoise Bordreuil. Bordreuil shares that Greta Naufal ‘has a gift for transmitting her love of Arts to every single student’. Their friendship continues long after Bordreuil’s departure.
First Solo exhibition at the Goethe-Institut in Manara, Beirut on living in times of war.
An officially published report states the death of 19,085 citizens and 31,915 injured after the Israeli invasion of Beirut. Produce a body of work on the theme of displacement.
Birth of her second daughter, Krystel, on June 15th.
Tragic loss of close family child Nabil Abou Ghantous (1975 – 1984).
Becomes a part time instructor at the Fine Arts Department headed by Mehranguise Irani, at Beirut University College – later Lebanese American University.
Holds the exhibition Nuba at Chahine Gallery, Beirut. Naufal recalls: ‘At this time I came across Leni Riefenstahl’s photos of Nuba Tribes at the Goethe-Institut. These photos constituted a revelation on all levels and a turning point in my career as an artist. They have brought much inspiration to my work on human societies facing oppression as was the case for every Lebanese citizen in time of war.’
Travels to Paris in summer and enrols at the Sorbonne University as a PhD candidate under the supervision of art critic and academician
Marc Le Bot.
Holds the exhibition The Way of the Cross at the
Goethe-Institut in Beirut, a series of black and white ink works retracing the daily sufferings of Lebanese citizens and survivors.
Birth of her third child, Jad, in July.
Holds Nine Months, an exhibition on motherhood with art works produced during the artist’s pregnancy, at the Alumni Centre, American University of Beirut, covered by the German television WDR in Kultur Welt Spiegel (Mirror of World culture).
Organizes a Jazz concert with her students at the Collège Protestant Français, after they expressed their interest in the subject.
Liberation War between General Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea’s opposing parties with heavy bombings on West Beirut. Naufal spends most of the year in the shelter of her building in Watwat area in Beirut, with her husband and their three children. She gives in there drawing sessions for children, an activity documented by the French Press Agency (AFP) and by Emirates News newspaper.
Introduced to the artistic universe of German Tanztheater choreographer Pina Bausch by her friend Barbara Kassir. Inspired by her piece Café Müller, she produces a three-meter long painting depicting life in shelters and humans interaction with everyday objects such as chairs in desolated places. This artwork is exhibited as a masterpiece at Millesgården Museum in Sweden in 1999.
Meets Janine Rubeiz, gallery owner and founder of Dar El Fan cultural center.
Takes part in Beirut Tabaan (Beirut Certainly), curated by Janine Rubeiz, a collective exhibition of works by artists who remained in Beirut during the war. The event is covered by the German television WDR (Kultur Welts Spiegel) and is broadcasted on November 5, 1989.
Taef Agreement is signed. Official end of the civil war.
Beginning of The Gulf War. Broadcasted live images leave a strong impact in Naufal’s mind.
Holds Behind the wall exhibition organized by the Goethe-Institut at the Carlton Hotel, Beirut. With her lithographic work Le Cri (The Scream), Naufal hits the public consciousness.
Separation of the couple Naufal-Khoury.
Participates in the collective exhibitions of the Annual Lebanese Artists Association and AUB Alumni’s.
Holds Behind the wall II at Kulturzentrum in Kaslik, showing a series of photo-lithographies re-questioning freedom, independence and impulses in relationships as well as verbal communication and its limitation.
Designs the poster and catalogue cover of the 2nd edition Festival of comics held at the French Cultural Centre.
Meets ceramist Samar Mogharbel. A fruitful collaboration and lifelong friendship begins between the two artists.
Haunted by the devastated city, starts a research on deconstruction and reconstruction of collective and personal memory, documenting and collecting visual traces from post-war Beirut using photography and video.
Naufal with Lebanese artist Imad Issa features in a documentary produced by German Television WDR in which they are filmed exploring the city ruins, preparing and making an installation using newspapers and materials found in ruined St-Georges orthodox church in Beirut downtown. A work reflecting on war and post-war icons.
Participates in a collective exhibition at Agial Gallery.
Holds the exhibition Il Pleut dans ma Mémoire at Alwan Gallery.
Experiments with the use of gauze in her paintings. She describes this material as a ‘symbol of healing’, reminding her of her mother’s care towards the injured during the civil war.
Works on a series of drawings on pottery shreds collected from the numerous archaeological excavations undertaken in Beirut straight after the war.
Travels to Turkey and visits Konya and Goreme. The old scratched frescoes and the ones partly erased by vandalism touch her.
Takes part in Sport, a collective exhibition curated by Alice Mogabgab at France Art Gallery, Beirut.
Features in Daz Herz von Beirut. Eine Stadt nach dem Kriege (The heart of Beirut. A city after the war), a 44 min documentary produced by German Television ZDF.
Raise awareness on Lebanese architectural heritage and organizes an exhibition about it with her students at the College Protestant Francais.
Works on a triptych following the traumatic loss of her brother-in-law Ralf Rizkallah, psychologist and writer. The work is acquired as part of the Lebanese Parliament permanent collection.
Solidere Real Estate Company starts a massive reconstruction plan of Downtown Beirut.
Pursues her investigation on intimate and collective memory in relation to Beirut and produces a body of mixed media works using personal photographs of the destroyed city.
Several collaborations with artistic and social milieu: front page of several issue of Human Rights, a monthly publication directed by Amal Makarem and edited by An-Nahar newspaper, illustrations of The Story of The Man Who Liked the Canary a novel by Bassam Hajjar, poster and booklet of Gilgamesh, a play directed by Jean Makdissi at the Lebanese American University.
Takes part in Livre de Dessin a collective exhibition at Janine Rubeiz Gallery, Beirut.
Awarded the Jury Prize from the Salon d’Automne Committee for ‘Beirut Fragment’
Holds the exhibition Bey 017 GS 96/Ruins on Ruins along with Samar Mogharbel at Janine Rubeiz Gallery. One of her collage works uses in a subversive act devaluated bank notes.
Is invited to the 6th International Cairo Biennale.
Receives the Jury’s prize for her portraits work – self-portraits and jazz musician portraits Birth of Modern Jazz [103 p.144-145] and Earl Fatha Hines [30 p.60-61] – from the 19th Alexandria Arts Biennale jury composed by, among others, Edward Lucie Smith, British art historian and critic and Dr. Alexandra Reininghaus, art researcher.
Takes part in Nissa’ (Women), a collective exhibition at Entretemps Gallery, Beirut.
Creates the masks and puppets of Lebanese director Jalal Khoury’s play Rizkallah ‘a Beirut, at Monnot Theatre.
Is invited by the Swedish Institute to Stockholm and starts a cultural exchange between her homeland and Sweden.
Meets William Wareing, curator of Millesgården Museum, with who a long-lasting collaboration is developed with several exhibitions organized and workshops lead in Sweden.
Meets Swedish saxophonist Amanda Sedgwick during a concert held at Kulturhuset in Stockholm.
Liberation of South Lebanon from the Israeli armed forces.
Millesgården Museum – Sweden presents Beirut Blues, an unprecedented retrospective of Naufal’s major works related to the city along with Mogharbel’s sculptural work. The Museum acquires one of her self-portraits as part of their permanent collection.
Holds Face/Efface at Janine Rubeiz Gallery, an exhibition that reveals and asserts her intimate and strong relationship with Jazz music.
First video art work, If smoking is not killing.
Designs the book Louise Wegmann: An Autobiography.
Takes part in Uyun Arabiya (Arabic Eyes), an exhibition focusing on Arab female artists, in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
Invited by art critic Nazih Khater, she presents a public lecture on Gebran Khalil Gebran’s painting at the first Lebanese retrospective on Gebran’s pictural world held at Sursock Museum.
Makes a series of works based on Dario Fo’s play A Woman Alone directed by Lebanese director Lina Abiad at Théâtre de Beyrouth.
Takes part in ‘L’Exception Libanaise’ (The Lebanese Exception), a collective exhibition at Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles in Paris, France.
Takes part in ‘Women in Exhibition’, a collective exhibition curated by Christine Shayed, gathering Lebanese female artworks at Al Sahat gallery.
Travels to Stockholm and is introduced to KKV the Swedish Artist’s Collective Workshop.
Presents the installation ‘Reading Room’ at Benassi Gallery in Gamla Stan (The old town), Stockholm. It included a series of musicians and writers portraits painted or drawn on local and foreign newspapers. Lebanese art critic Joseph Tarrab writes: ‘By changing her relationship to the newspaper, daily witness to the sound and fury of history, by substituting the reading of the image to the reading of the text, by emphasizing the common place and sophisticated gestures, postures and behaviors over against the exceptional and dramatic acts recorded in the titles and texts, Greta Naufal does contribute to changing our own relationship not only to art but to life itself.’
Teaches illustration courses at the Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts (ALBA) university.
Meets Norwegian Jazz percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love.
Holds the exhibition ‘Jazz Portraits’ at the Goethe-Institut in Beirut. Swedish saxophonist Amanda Sedgwick and Naufal’s father, composer Georges Naufal Sawaya open the exhibition. She invites emergent musicians such as Arthur Satayan, Tarek Yamani, Khaled Yassine, Mazen Kerbaj, Raed Yassine, Alex Asmar and Ziad Al Ahmadieh to have public jam sessions.
Participates in a lithography workshop by Maria Lindström of the Swedish Royal Academy of Arts and exhibits the work at KKV in Stockholm.
Takes part in ‘Art Works from Private Collections’, a collective exhibition curated by William Wareing at Millesgården including, among others, Gabriele Münter, Jean Tinguely and Marcel Duchamp’s works.
Takes part in Lebanon, the Artist’s View, a collective exhibition at Cork Street Gallery in England where two of her Jazz portraits Eli ’Lucky’ Thompson and Theodore ‘Fats’ Navarro are exhibited.
Participates in the installation exhibition with Body and Memory along with Swedish artists, Maria Lindström and Ellen Cronholm at the Goethe-Institut in Beirut. Dedicates one of her litho-prints to the memory of Anna Lindh assasinated during Naufal’s stay in Stockholm in 2003.
Becomes member of KKV Swedish Artist Association.
Presents ‘Irony’, a video-installation on war violence during KKV’s exhibition at Kulturhuset in Stockholm.
Produces the video art ‘Le Temps d’un Regard’.
On June 2nd, Samir Kassir, chief editor of An-Nahar Newspaper, scholar and political analyst is killed in a car explosion. She produces a video art in his memory and works on a series of photolithographic works captured from this video.
Irony is presented at the 15th Salon d’Automne at Sursock Museum.
Holds Bey05 in homage to Samir Kassir at Goethe-Institut in Beirut, a video and installation featuring jazz musicians at the closing night.
Naufal’s mother passes away on February 21st.
Takes part in Nafas Beirut, a collective platform for bearing witness and sharing artist’s work produced during or in immediate reaction to the July War at Espace SD Gallery.
Barakat building triptych is featured in the National Heritage Fondation brochure.
Is invited to exhibit ‘Exodus’, an installation on the displaced people condition at the Goethe-Institut Dublin, Ireland.
Presents ‘The Difficulty to Leave and the Impossibility to Stay’, a second installation inspired by the condition of civilians fleeing in times of war, at the Goethe-Institut, Beirut. On the day of the opening, a Lebanese deputy is killed in a car explosion near the exhibition venue. The exhibition lasts only one day.
Elaborates a series of Jazz portraits and prominent writers like Samuel Beckett and Yasunari Kawabata using silkscreen technique.
Illustrates the booklet ‘Gebran and the Youth’ in memory of Gebran Tuéni assasinated in a car explosion in 2006.
Travels to Sweden and is invited to the Nobelist poet Tomas Tranströmer’s house.
Travels to Berlin and re-studies Kathe Kollwitz’s graphics at the Kathe Kollwitz Museum.
Irony is presented at the Douarnenez Film Festival in France.
Produces a series of elaborated serigraphic works entitled Ishtar.
Prints a series of Jazz portraits including Chet Baker’s, Errol Garner’s and Billie Holiday’s using serigraphy print technique.
Holds ‘Jazzimagination’ an exhibition of silkscreen prints at Fasching Jazz Club in Stockholm, covered by Orkster, most famous Swedish Jazz magazine.
Is invited by the Lebanese Ministry of Culture to take part in Moukhtarat Exhibition, a collective exhibition held in the frame of Doha Capital of Arab Culture in Qatar.
Takes part in ‘The Beat is On’, a collective exhibition curated by Joseph Tarrab on music and dance at Maqam Art Gallery, in downtown Beirut.
Holds ‘All That Jazz’ at Maqam Art Gallery in Beirut, an exhibition of Jazz portraits including Fighting for Life, a video art edited by Dina Charara with live concert captures by Naufal of Norwegian Jazz percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love and Swedish saxophonist Lars Gustafsson. She invites the Lebanese Soprano Ghada Ghanem to sing Jazz songs on the closing day.
Attends the London Jazz Festival, one of the biggest Jazz festivals in the world.
Works on a series of portraits of Arab intellectuals, mainly poets and writers as well as on self-portraits.
Prepares an installation using gauze material in memory of her mother.
Creates an artwork for the posters and booklets of the play Kazifa Fi Al-Qalb (A bullet in the heart) written by Wajdi Mouawad and directed by Lina Abiad.
Starts an abstract work using mainly red leaking ink.
Makes digital drawings and sketches experimenting with smart phone applications.
Starts a series of drawings entitled ‘Mastectomy’.
Her father passes away at the age of 96.
Receives Juhayna Baddoura Award for her outstanding teaching and artistic career.
Takes part in Zagreb Ex-Tempore Clay symposium, at the Cultural Centre Tresnjevka & Ladica in Croatia.
Invited to participate at the Clay Symposium in Xiqing, Tianjin, China with Samar Mogharbel.
Takes part in the collective faculty member exhibition at the Lebanese American University.
Featured in Al Jazeera documentary Al Richa Tahki Al Houroub (Painting in Time of War)
‘Black Tulip’ is presented at the Spring Festival in homage to Samir Kassir
Researches prehistory wall paintings and starts a body of work including drawings on pebbles and stones collected from archeological sites. Studies the three dimensional effect of forms created by stones.
Brings together the lifetime achievements of her father George Naufal and researches his compositions, recordings and writings.
Invited to take part in a collective exhibition and fundraising initiative Bitasarrof at the National Lebanese Library in Beirut to support the rehabilitation of the library.
Produces a wall installation called Le Fil de la Vie (The Thread of Life) using the recording strips collected from old tapes hand woven to create a large tapestry.
‘Partition Inachevée’, exhibition at the Janine Rubeiz Gallery of paintings, collages and mixed media installations inspired by her father’s music legacy.
Photo credits: 1. Greta Naufal in the underground shelter 2. Greta Naufal, Nazih Khater, Etel Adnan and Janine Rubeiz