Building on the success of its last two editions, Beirut Art Fair, one of the leading contemporary art fairs in the region is set to make a comeback this July, featuring 40 galleries from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA).
Taking place over a course of three days at the Beirut International Exhibition Leisure Centre (BIEL), the fair aims to provide a platform for artists, art collectors, and critics to discuss the production of art in the MENASA region.
According to Laure d’Hauteville, organiser of the fair, Beirut has always been a meeting point for dialogue between cultures and Beirut Art Fair reaffirms its role as the cultural capital of the Arab world, Iran and Turkey, at the crossroads between east and west.‘The region MENASA that stretches from Morocco to Indonesia is booming artistically and economically. In the field of contemporary art, there are about 60 museums, six biennales, eight fairs and not to mention a number of emerging artists of high calibre. So we are happy to provide a forum of expression in Beirut.’
The fair is expected to gather galleries from 13 countries, representing the works of artists from diverse nationalities and backgrounds. Including a wide range of paintings, drawings, sculptures, photography and installations, the artists reflect their vision of the contemporary world and everyday life.
Pascale Odille, organiser and art director states: ‘Through all these artists’ works, we really hope that the public understands that the art presented at Beirut Art Fair, aims at promoting all the expressions of a universal language, reaching beyond borders and stereotypes.’
Key highlights of the fair include a comics corner which is an exhibition encompassing thirty original drawings from artists such as Zeina Abirached from Lebanon, Mohamed Al Sharkawi from Egypt and Nadia Khiari from Tunisia. Another highlight is a performance by Ashekman, a Lebanese hip hop band. Added to this, street art and graffiti by artists such as Yazan Halwani will be on display offering the public an insight into urban Beirut.
Visitors to the fair can look forward to a series of lectures and round table discussions on matters pertaining to the development of art foundations in Lebanon and the Middle East and the role of media in the artistic sphere.
D’Hauteville concludes that Beirut Art Fair has evolved since its launch in 2010. ‘We are on a constant quest to improve and develop the fair. This year, particularly, we have received a lot of encouragement from the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Tourism and the hundreds of collectors who agreed to sponsor the fair. All of these factors have ensured the success of this fair.’
*Beirut Art Fair 2012 runs from 5-8 July at the Beirut International Exhibition & Leisure Centre (BIEL).
Photography: Courtesy of Beirut Art Fair