Beirut Art Fair: a celebration of creativity

 Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Wonder Beirut #20 (Beirut By Night), 1998 - 2006. Photographic print mounted on aluminium and diasec, 70 x 105 cm. Courtesy of the artists & In Situ - Fabienne Leclerc

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Wonder Beirut #20 (Beirut By Night), 1998 - 2006. Photographic print mounted on aluminium and diasec, 70 x 105 cm. Courtesy of the artists & In Situ - Fabienne Leclerc

A collection of KAWS figurines, a focus on photography and an architectural reconstruction of the city of Beirut are just some of the highlights of this year’s Beirut Art Fair, set to take place from September 20-23 at the Seaside Arena (formerly BIEL). An integral part of Beirut Art Week, the event is now in its ninth edition and is expected to bring in an audience of 32,000 visitors.

With galleries from across the Middle East and Europe as well as Africa and the US, the art fair is a key commercial event for the Lebanese capital, which recently unveiled a five year plan to boost investment in the cultural economy. However, like most art fairs, it is the non-profit and fringe events that make will the event a success.

 Randa Mirza, Live up to your true nation, Beirutopia, 2013. Pigment ink on Baryte paper, 80 cm x 110 cm. Courtesy Randa Mirza, Private Collection.

Randa Mirza, Live up to your true nation, Beirutopia, 2013. Pigment ink on Baryte paper, 80 cm x 110 cm. Courtesy Randa Mirza, Private Collection.

The 2018 edition has a focus on Lebanese photography over the past 100 years with an exhibition titled Across Boundaries. Tarek Nahas, a passionate collector of photographs, has undertaken the meticulous research, selection and compilation of works from private and institutional Lebanese collections for the show, assisted by Marine Bougaran, the project’s artistic director, and its artistic advisor, Laurence Nahas. Bougaran said: This exceptional event of unprecedented scope will create a dialogue between generations of artists, showcasing over 100 works of art and installations, representing Lebanese photographic production.” In addition, There will be over 40 figurines from the legendary American painter and designer Brian Donelly (1974), known under his artist name KAWS in an exhibition curated by Nelly Choucair Zeidan.

Within the space itself, the art fair team has assigned the renowned architect and urban planner, Patrick Boustani, to recreate the city of Beirut and there will be a 240 sqaure metre area dedicated to the memory of Paul Guiragossian – one of region’s greatest artists who passed away 25 years ago.

 Composition (La Grande Charge), 1990-91. Oil on canvas. 130 x 200 cm. Paul Guiragossian Estate collection, Lebanon.

Composition (La Grande Charge), 1990-91. Oil on canvas. 130 x 200 cm. Paul Guiragossian Estate collection, Lebanon.

There will be a robust programme of talks and workshops and for the VIPs, there will be visits to artists’ workshops, private collections and museums all over Lebanon.
Laure d’Hauteville, Beirut Art Fair founder and director, said: “The 2018 edition of Beirut Art Fair reflects the rapidly changing times we are in. Lebanon never had the need to be confronted with art as much as it does today. Art allows us to maintain our hopes and strive for an ideal, initiates a dialogue between cultures, and carries a message of peace.”

  • Beirut Art Fair September 20-23 at the Seaside Arena (formerly BIEL) is part of Beirut Art Week September 18 – 25, which crosses the city of Beirut and is a celebration of creativity. For more info on the fair visit beirut-art-fair.com