Thirty Lebanese artists and designers recently exhibited their work in Dubai International Financial Center in the United Arab Emirates. The eclectic exhibition “Beirut Art Beat 2013” featured artwork in the field of jewelry and fashion designi as well as furniture and interior design. Though some of the artists had exhibited their work outside Lebanon before, for the majority of them, it was their first time.
One such artist is furniture and interior designer Nathalie Yared. She exhibited a new line of furniture that has its own vintage style. “I was walking down the streets of Beirut one day when I came across an old table that very much reminded me of my childhood. It looked like one my grandmother used to have,” said Yared. She took the table, fixed it, and started painting old logos on it; from Pepsi and Crush sodas to Chiclets chewing gum. She used the same colors as those logos had 30 or even 40 years ago. Yared started applying the same concept on other pieces of furniture, and the outcome was a whole line of tables, chairs and stools mostly white in color with vintage paintings decorating them.
Fine arts graduate Sally Khoury stands at the other end of the spectrum. Her paintings had been exhibited before in Europe. Sally is not here to exhibit paintings only, but bags as well. “It started with female portraits with a fashionable touch that I often painted. Then I thought it could be a good idea to print those paintings on bags,” said Khoury. Since bags are the outcome of her paintings, there are no two identical bags. “In a way, it is like you are carrying your own art piece,” elaborated the artist. Sally’s collection of bags is very fashionable. They come in bright vivid colors with chic and trendy female portraits. It is the It bag for the It girl.
Beirut Art Beat started about a year ago as a local initiative in Lebanon, aiming to promote young and emerging Lebanese talents. However, the organizers behind this arts festival wanted to go to the next level, and thought of going regional. “We wanted to take our artists and showcase their work outside Lebanon. Some of them are already known in Lebanon, but we wanted to give them more exposure. We wanted the world to see their work, we wanted their work to cross the boundaries,” said Dalia Haj Ali, one of the organizers behind the exhibition.
The idea of showcasing one Arab country’s talents in another might not be novel, but it says a lot about collaboration and how we, Arabs, can benefit from this to showcase our work. This time it is Lebanese art in Dubai, who knows what it is going to be next time; perhaps Egyptian handicrafts in Jeddah!