Monya Riachi (b.1990, Khenchara Lebanon) is an artist and architect.
Monya’s practice is multidisciplinary and centres matter as a site of meaning and embedded psychosocial archive. Working primarily in sculpture and installation, her artworks address how narratives can be shaped, altered and preserved through the migration of artefacts and histories. Drawn to material at risk of loss or under threat, her approach is rooted in Karen Barad’s theory of agential realism, where matter is generative in bringing forth [new matter and] new worlds. Through her work, Monya weaves fiction and fact to confront the personal and political, proposing realities that hover between speculation and possibility.
Monya was part of the 3-person show Short Lapses, Long Rolls at Saltspace, Glasgow (2023), and has been selected for Encounters, Janine Rubeiz’s 30th Anniversary exhibition in Beirut (2023). Her 2022 installation The Revolution is Open was featured in The Herald and The Scotsman. She has recently completed a residency with Ashkal Alwan Beirut in 2022.
Monya lives in London and works between London, Glasgow and Lebanon.
Where Bougainvilleas Bloom Ceaselessly
Sea salt crystals (Lebanese coast)
Salt, NH₄NO₃ pigment
Manganese glass (Villa Linda Sursock) – 19th Century/2020
Unidentifiable rock (Lebanese coast)
Bougainvillea – preserved
Sandstone rock, Limestone rock (Lebanese coast) – 2.6 Millenia
Concrete aggregate rock (Lebanese coast)
‘Safad’ (oyster) shells (Mediterranean Sea)
Pottery fragment (Mediterranean Sea) – speculation Roman era
Plastic carrier bag
Glasswax, plaster, iron powder, clay slip, concrete block, steel tube, single channel projection and audio
In Monya Riachi’s intimate film of her grandmother, we are given few words and many gestures, we are given sounds of the city in which her Teta resides, we are given glimpses inside rooms, and cupboards, and vessels—glimpses inside relations. We sense in watching this film that there is something sliding away from us. It is not meant for our senses, but there is something honourable, and lean, and generous in its being here before us. For a short, calm while we are contained within its embrace, knowing soon, as it should, it will end. In being alive for us, it does not betray itself, but it does say something about our desire to capture one another, in anticipation of being gone from each other forever. (Kate Holford)
Excerpt from Ways to Fall, written by Kate Holford for the exhibition Short Lapses Long Rolls (Saltspace, March 2023).