A white cloud of fabric floats into an abandoned building. The ghost is somewhere in Lebanon, bringing a crisp whiteness, a breath of fresh air, into a building full of history. The image – WRAITH (Reviving Lebanon Heritage) – was taken by Tony Mhanna, a Lebanese artist recently selected to be promoted by the team behind Beirut Art Fair, in an initiative working to promote young Lebanese artists.
The explosion that hit Beirut on August 4 devastated us all and, as the daughter of a Beiruti mother, this hit me particularly hard. Lebanon has always been a hub for artists and creatives, but many are struggling in the midst of an economic crisis accompanied by the effects of the explosion. Mhanna’s photograph reminds us that Lebanon is a country full of artistic and cultural history, and that it can and will be revived. The longstanding Beirut Art Fair, is working to help accelerate this revival of Lebanese culture.
Beirut Art Fair, which unfortunately had to cancel this year’s edition, has therefore announced Open Call #1 for Lebanese Artists, to encourage support for young Lebanese artists. From over 190 applicants, 7 artists have been chosen to be promoted across the art fair’s social media platforms.
Until December 9, Beirut Art Fair’s Facebook and Instagram platforms will be exhibiting one artist per day. The works will then be offered for sale in order to support and encourage these artists and to continue to pursue their artistic careers.
The artists include Tony Mhanna, Zeinab Khalifeh, Basile Ghosn, Lea Skayem, Salah Missi, Michelle Maluf and Camila Salame. My personal highlights include Michelle Maluf’s beautiful tapestry Bright Side, which aims to see beauty within dullness. The bright colours gush out offering light and were inspired by ancestral weaving techniques. Another favourite is Zeinab Kahlifer’s One Moment on 40 Years, a photograph that shows her Uncle Hassan working on his sewing machine in the old souk in Sidon.
Check out the selected artists on Beirut Art Fair’s Instagram until December 9