Beirut has always been a capital of arts and design in the Middle East. It has been proven once more with the 8th Beirut Art Fair which ended last Saturday. It was a frank success this year, with 28 250 visitors (21% more than last year). This year’s event was centred on 3 axes: a spirit of renewal and expansion, the promotion of young talents and the recent history of creation and creation in Lebanon. It has generated great interest from art collectors from Lebanon, the Middle East but also Europe and the Gulf countries.
Artist : Ghazi Baker, photo by Mark Hachem.
The fair was organized around 2 main exhibitions, the first being the exploration of the Arab identity with “Ourouba, the Eye of Lebanon” curated by Lebanese-Iranian curator Rose Issa. Art from public and private collections in Lebanon was shown, with 62 pieces from 39 artists.
The organizers didn’t impose any theme to the fair, but there were recurrent topics referring to the changes in the region: the destruction caused by wars, silhouettes of migrants and refugees, critics of the main political figures or the use of religion as a weapon of war. Palestinian artist Abdulrahman Katanani exhibited the ‘Wave’, a wave made of wires, representing the evolving idea of borders. Youssef Abdelke, Syrian artist, displayed a woman wearing black clothes in deep sorrow in front of a portrait of her martyred son. Tagreed Dargouth, from Lebanon, presented paintings of bullets.
Artist : Claudia Hidalgo, photo by D21 proyectos de Arte.
The second focus of the BAF was the book “The Prophet” by Khalil Gibran, translated into 50 languages, making it the most widely read Arabic book. The exhibition presented the first illustrations and drawings made by the author for the first English book and the recent calligraphies by Algerian artist Rachid Koraichi.
This fair was also a big business success, with 88% of galleries making sales, some exceeding 500 000 dollars.
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