In the second part of this series (read Episode 1: From Jisr El Wati to Mar Mikhaël), L’HOTE LIBANAIS passes by significant art hubs situated between Gemmayze and the historical city centre. At the same time it also includes some of the work of Beirut's budding street artists.
Run by Antoine Haddad, Artlab follows its own passions. Before many other galleries started to showcase Syrian talent, Haddad opened his gallery to artists who had left their home country and were experimenting with new-won freedoms as much as expressing feelings of homesickness and loss as well as abstract art. Subsequently to the “Syrian wave” taking off in 2012, Haddad has frequently been to Iran and has exhibited Iranian, but also French and local talent in his small but trailblazing space.
— ARAB IMAGE FOUNDATION
Also in Gemmayze is the Arab Image Foundation (AIF), which holds a wealth of images from around the region but also beyond, including collections from Iraq, from Iran, and the Lebanese Diaspora (such as Mexico and Senegal). These includes family photographs and amateur photography, as well as various collections from former photo studios such as the Hashem El Madani collection in Sidon.
Through a range of photographic processes and practices, the images allow unique insight into past social histories, the advertising industry, fashions, cultural practices and more.
The AIF has a well-stocked art and photography reference library as well as PCs that visitors can use to browse the database. Registering for the database is free of charge.
— SURSOCK MUSEUM
After extensive renovations lasting seven years, the Sursock Museum finally opened its doors again to the public in late 2015. In addition to a large new exhibition space on the ground floor, the state-of-the-art museum now boasts an auditorium, a library, as well as café and museum shop. The public museum runs a multitude of events, including for children.
— FADI MOGABGAB CONTEMPORARY ART GALLERY
One who knows the art scene well, an “incontournable” is Fadi Mogabgab who has one of the most acclaimed contemporary art gallery spaces in Beirut on the right side of Gouraud (at number 268). His latest artistic endeavour is Zaarura Edition Prints Gallery.
— SALOUA RAOUDA CHOUCAIR ART AT THE GIBRAN GARDEN
In front of the ESCWA building is the Gibran Khalil Gibran Garden. In there, not known to many, is a stone sculpture by the renowned modernist artist Saloua Raouda Choucair (born 1916) whose work was the focus of an exhibition at the Tate in London in 2013. The sculpture is a typical example of her balancing acts.
From the 1950s on, Choucair increasingly focused on sculpture. Early works focus on the trajectory of the line and its potential to change shape or to reach infinity. Her interest in the structure of Arabic poetry, in which a verse or stanza may stand alone as well as being part of a complete poem, inspired her creations, which often consist of boxes or cylinders, stand-alone units like stanzas of a Sufi poem, or fusing into one poetic ensemble.
Keep an eye on us… Episode 3 is on its way!