Its on: Beirut Art Fair from Sept 19-22

 

 

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Annie Kurkdjian, courtesy of Art Circle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catch the last wave of summer, Beirut Art Fair is on! Make sure to visit the series of exciting galleries from across the world that will be on display, with local favorites including: Art Circle, Galerie Janine Rubiez and Art on 56th. The fair will be held at BIEL, for more details check out the official website at beirut-art-fair.com

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Abdelke Arrested

This article released by NOW Lebanon covers the arrest of internationally recognized Syrian Artist Youssef Abdelke. Abdelke was arrested on July 18 2013 by regime forces as a way to suppress his intellectual and creative voice from further galvanizing others against them. He now stands amongst many other artists and thinkers to suffer from arrest and targeted violence for his call for freedom.

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As a result of the political winds Abdelke’s work underwent a natural evolution “his brushes and charcoals turned to people: martyrs and their mothers. He found “a noble sentiment” present in his own recent work that he’d found absent before.”

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Susan Hefuna: Time & Line

I saw Susan Hefuna’s work for the first time at the Pi Artworks Gallery (Istanbul) booth at the Armory Show in New York this year. On display was an extensive series of her drawings and sculptures that compliments her earlier work in photography and video. Her Egyptian and German roots and perpetual travel have allowed her to establish working grounds in big cities around the world, including: London, New York, Cairo and Dusseldorf.

The musharabiya is an evolving and central theme in Hefuna’s work that first appeared in her drawings in 1990. The musharabiya is a functional handcrafted architectural element, popular in Egypt, that lets in air and light while preventing disturbance and the outsider’s gaze.  Her work creates an interior with similar qualities for reflection with explicit messages on identity and being integrated into the wooden screens. SusanH SusanH2

More works and details at susanhefuna.com and piartworks.com

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Contemporary Calligraphy: Life as a treasure

04 الناس نفوس الديار Humans are the souls of homes 70x70

Mouneer Al Shaarani,  Humans are the souls of homes

28أرى العيش كنزا ناقصا كل ليلة-I see life as a streasure which lessens each night

Al Shaarani, I see life as a treasure which lessens each night

سورية, 100x70cm,gouache and ink on paper (1)

Al Shaarani, Syria

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Art on 56th Gallery, Al Shaarani Exhibit

Art on 56th has newly opened the doors of its galleries on the ground floor of a beautifully restored historic building, typical of its quarter in Gemayzeh. Its generous quality couldn’t better host the exquisite work of Mouneer Al Shaarani. With his faultless brush strokes he evokes timeless reflections on life along with very current inscriptions of changes taking over Syria.

Al Shaarani, synonymous with contemporary Arabic calligraphy,  has developed new techniques in contemporary calligraphy only after mastering his calligraphic heritage in detail. Born in Syria in 1952. He found his calling at a young age as an apprentice for one of the most important Syrian Calligraphers Badawi Al Dirany. He has since gained tremendous international acclaim for modernizing calligraphic heritage as well as for over 35 years of book design and his writing.

Al Shaarani: “Ottomans considered the different styles of calligraphy sacred and tampering with them was prohibited…for centuries various styles of Arabic calligraphy, such as Kufi & Maghrabi were concealed. I had discovered that many calligraphic styles involve visual abilities that can be developed to produce contemporary art. Such an understanding is the very backbone of my work, which is the avant-garde integration between calligraphy and modernity.

My experience and specialty in contemporary graphic design enabled me to access the existing calligraphic work that has been derived from the very roots of the Arabic calligraphy tree. Consequently, allowing me to free it from the sacred golden cage and enabling it to get out from the inertia and conventional prison to the wide horizons of art in order to find its prestigious place among the fine arts.”

For more details visit Art on 56th Gallery website

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50 years of Huguette is not enough!

Huguette Caland: 1964 – retrospective at the Beirut Exhibition Center is an absolute delight. Hugette’s love for life is very palpable; it is clear that she approaches her pieces with great honesty and a wild sense of humor as she often times flirts with the erotic. As someone who never wore a watch this retrospective has little to do with time but rather how Huguette continues to live her life to the fullest through these mediums and colors.

Born in Beirut in 1931, she is the daughter of the First President of Lebanon. She spent her life in Lebanon and also established a life in France and California where she often goes in search of inspiration and the unexpected.

By the age of fourteen she had started drawing and her room quickly filled with images of people and crowds. She worked through life’s many challenges, recovering from a serious accident and the slow loss of her father, with a big paint brush and even larger canvas.

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Faces and Places II 2010

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Faces and Places II 2010

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Wife, Husband 1968

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Visage sans bouche, bouche sans visage 1970-1971

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Orange Blossoms 2008

Caland: “Je ne porte pas de montre…L’important est de combler son temps avec ce que l’on aime faire, ou avec ce que l’on croit faire le mieux et avec le plus de plaisir. C’est un grand luxe de remplir ainsi afin de mieux le savourer. Si la mort nous surprend, alors qu’on fait ce que l’on a choisi de faire, on meurt sans envie de mourir, mais pas trop malheureux de quitter cette vie qu’on arrive a tant aimer en depit de tout ce que l’on sait de malheurs, d’injustice et de souffrances. La patience developee au long des annees m’a servi a repouser la terreur de vivre et de mourir. Plus je passe de temps sur une toile ou un papier, plus je me donne l’illusion de prolonger la vie.”

For more details on Caland’s exhibit visit Beirut Exhibition Center Page

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Galleries as Refuge in Revolutionary Syria

Galleries Refuge

Ali Kaaf, Artist from Al Azmeh’s photo series “A small group of Syrians”

HUFFPOST ARTS & CULTURE: In Revolutionary Syria, Galleries Become Refuges and Artists Dissidents 

Not so long ago it looked like Damascus was in line to once again become a global center for art, with a burgeoning gallery scene and a growing international interest in works by Syrian artists. But glossy images from openings just a few years ago stand in stark contrast to the bloody bodies and bombed-out buildings in the headlines of 2013. World heritage sites throughout Syria are being destroyed as refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey are swelling with Syrians escaping the violence. Yet, Syrian artists are continuing to make work, building new homes abroad, and bringing their art with them. Perhaps their perseverance is a sign that Syrian art will continue to flourish, despite a revolution that has already claimed 60,000 lives.

Many artists have made political works they never would have risked under the regime. Jaber Al Azmeh, a Syrian photographer and professor now living in Doha, created two series of photographs documenting the revolution. Fearing the regime, he only published a few of the images before leaving Syria. One series, “A Small Group of Syrians” consists of images of artists and activists holding up the Ba’ath newspaper (the newspaper of the regime), with anti-Assad messages written over the print. He explained:

“I hated politics in my life, I think it’s a really corrupt part of humanity and I never went into it too much. But, being a part of the revolution wasn’t about being political. It’s our life now, it’s a matter of survival, it’s our country, our people and everyone was participating.”

(click on link above to read more)

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Shots of a changing city

Galerie Janine Rubeiz’s exhibit “On Fleeting Grounds” gives us a moment to stop and react to the rapid transformation of Beirut. The massive number of construction projects sweeping over the city has meant that much is being demolished with a heavy loss of  the cities architectural heritage.

With the feeling of there being little left to do these emerging photographers took to the streets with their cameras; Engaging with the subject visually by marking traces of these changes and of what may soon be no more.

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Rima Maroun, A ciel ouvert

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Rima Maroun, A ciel ouvert

Maroun: “Today a fast construction movement is invading Beirut. Streets are changing, open spaces are closing, and I have no time to assimilate so much change. Earth is ripped out, dug and reshaped. Fascinated by the underground, I understand the ephemeral side of those open sites and I am seized by an urgent need to shoot these instants when earth indecently exposes its open belly.”

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Elsie HaddadEntr’actes

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Chafa Ghaddar, Living Relic

Ghaddar: “Beirut has been assaulted by surges of degradation. Traces of war animate its spaces turning them monumental. Ambitious reconstruction projects have been invading its every corner and are slowly defacing the city. We are at the verge of an immense takeover.

While processing the photograph, my work consists of forcing as much brightness as possible from what seemed to be a burnt image. The visible pixels were meant to emulate the actual dust that occupies the site. Yet, my intention is not to magnify the extent of degradation of this ruined place, but rather purify the image from the residues of reality.”

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Shaghig Arzoumanian, The Hidden Place

Arzoumanian: “This project was conceived abroad, in my distress of knowing the Asfourieh, Beirut’s former insane asylum, meant to be destroyed and transformed into a big residential and commercial complex. I was haunted by this race against time and against the devastating machine of real estate, who was imposing its one-sided rules in tis eastern suburb of Beirut, Hazmieh, where I grew up.

In my urge to recompose memories and phantasmagorias mounted during my childhood years, I broke in. And shot and shot, frenetically documenting every bit of space.”

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