This is the first in a series of articles dedicated to Beirut’s Art scene. The journey that L’HOTE LIBANAIS embarks on today starts at the periphery of the city and will take you… stay tuned!
— BEIRUT ART CENTER
One of the first addresses to visit is the Beirut Art Center in Jisr el Wati, which opened its doors in 2009. Among the past exhibitions feature shows by Lebanese photographer Fouad El Khoury, Akram Zaatari, and Mona Hatoum, as well as the trailblazing White Wall, which focused on street art and visibly transformed Beirut, some of the sterling creations feature along this itinerary. Visitors can buy books at the bookstore or consult the media centre on the first floor.
— ASHKAL ALWAN
Around the corner from BAC is another pioneer of the contemporary art scene in Beirut: Ashkal Alwan, the Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts that was set up in 1993. Since then the association has been committed to the production, facilitation and circulation of creative and intellectual endeavours across a range of disciplines and media. Ashkal Alwan’s flagship programme includes the Home Works Programmes, in its seventh edition (2015), curated projects in Lebanon and abroad, the publication of literary works and artists’ books, artists-in-residency programs and the video production and screening program Video Works. Ashkal Alwan (Forms and Colours, in Arabic) has a very well stocked (arts and culture) library and a café to grab a quick coffee or lunch.
— SFEIR-SEMLER GALLERY
Also located in the industrial periphery of Beirut, in Karantina, where architect Bernard Khoury and photographer Roger Moukarzel have set up their respective offices/studios, is one of the older, established and renowned galleries, the Sfeir-Semler Gallery. Gallerist Andrée Sfeir-Semler had been running a gallery in Hamburg, Germany for decades before opening the additional space in Beirut in 2005. Gallery artists include Etel Adnan, Yto Barrada, Elger Esser, The Atlas Group / Walid Raad, Wael Shawky, Akram Zaatari, Sol LeWitt, amongst many others.
Further from the river but closer to the sea, as its name indicates, is Marfa’ (harbour, in Arabic), the newest gallery to have opened its doors in the district with the same name. Gallery owner Joumana Asseily’s credo is to look for innovative ways to engage diverse audiences through the work of contemporary artists. The space opened with Collapsing Clouds of Gas and Dust by Vartan Avakian.
— GALERIE TANIT
Naila Kettaneh Kunigk built a highrise next to Electricté du Liban (Mar Mikhael) and permanently relocated the Beirut chapter of her Galerie Tanit there. It is situated in a brand-new, ambitious space at street level, inaugurated in 2012. Also with an established base in Germany (Munich), where she gained a wealth of experience and connections, and was a pioneer in showcasing American art, the gallery owner has been exhibiting local and international artists such as Franck Christen, Youssef Abdelke, Simone Fattal, and David Kramer amongst others since inception.
Keep an eye on us… Episode 2 is on its way!