Fresh talent at The Beirut Art Fair

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the extravaganza is strengthening its focus on emerging artists from Lebanon and beyond

Beirut Mutations (2015) by Sirine Fattouh at Letitia Gallery
Beirut Mutations (2015) by Sirine Fattouh at Letitia Gallery | Image: Courtesy of the artist and Letitia Gallery, Beirut

The eyes of the art world will turn to Lebanon this month as the Beirut Art Fair opens its doors from September 18 to 22. The show, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, will present three exclusive exhibitions focused on the MENA region and Lebanon itself, as well as Project, a new platform dedicated to local and international emerging artists. The showcase takes place during Beirut Art Week, from September 18 to 25, and will present more than 50 diverse galleries from 18 countries, representing artists of 35 nationalities. It is expected to attract over 40,000 visitors.

The Shadow (2017) by Ahmad Ghossein at Marfa’ Gallery
The Shadow (2017) by Ahmad Ghossein at Marfa’ Gallery

“This anniversary is a momentous occasion to celebrate a decade of artistic discoveries,” says the fair’s founder and director Laure d’Hauteville. “The fair has played a key role in revealing to the public emerging artists from the Arab world and beyond, and to art forms considered less mainstream such as video art and graffiti. For this tenth edition, we will reinforce our commitment to unveiling new talent and new scenes by presenting an even wider panel of renowned and promising artists.”

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The show highlights the best of the region’s art and galleries, but welcomes participants from all over the world. There are 30 newcomers at this year’s gathering, from countries such as Italy, France, Cuba and China, while 20 galleries will return to the event. Among the exhibitions that are expected to draw the crowds are Lebanon Modern: Unexpected Trove – The Unseen Works of Hussein Madi, dedicated to the Lebanese artist born in 1938; and A Tribute to Lebanon, which explores western creations inspired by Lebanon, including pieces by David Hockney.

Draft Zero (2017) by Ahmad Ghossein at Marfa’ Gallery
Draft Zero (2017) by Ahmad Ghossein at Marfa’ Gallery

Among the galleries to visit is Paris-based In Situ – Fabienne Leclerc, which will show work by the Lebanese duo Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige (€10,000-€45,000), including Dust in the Wind Cedar VI, from 2013. Beirut’s Letitia Gallery will present the work of Lebanese artist Sirine Fattouh, who divides her time between Beirut and Paris, including the photo montage Beirut Mutations and The Sleepers, a range of sculptures made of clay and brass coated with silver ($1,500-$3,000).

Steel (2019) by Anachar Basbous at Agial Art Gallery
Steel (2019) by Anachar Basbous at Agial Art Gallery | Image: Courtesy Agial Art Gallery

Marfa’ Beirut will represent the Lebanese artist and filmmaker Ahmad Ghossein, with works such as The Shadow, an inkjet on glass dating from 2017, and Draft Zero, a lightbox acetate sheet from the same year ($2,000-$8,000). The Agial Art Gallery, meanwhile, is showing Steel, a striking abstract sculpture by Anachar Basbous, which was created this year (POA).

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