Art & the city
Beirut Ar t Fair has become an essential par t of Beirut’s vibrant ar ts scene. We speak to its founder and director, Laure d’hauteville on its evolution and her essential spots to see ar t in the city
Beirut has a long history as a destination for art that only keeps evolving further. With 48 art galleries and art spaces, 32 archeological, historical and thematic art museums and two museums set to open soon (sourced from
Agenda Culturel, agendaculturel.com) there is a vibrant art scene that continues to thrive. Beirut Art Fair (BAF), which launched in 2010, has established itself on the regional and global arts scene with a focus on art from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, attracting galleries, visitors and collectors to the capital city. “Every year, Beirut Art Fair brings together galleries that present both renowned artists and emerging talents. It is a fascinating destination to discover art. We have more and more galleries, more visitors and art collectors coming from outside Lebanon,” says Laure d’hauteville, BAF’S founder and director. This year, the annual ar t fair will receive around 50 international modern and contemporar y ar t and design galler ies, showcasing new trends across a var iety of mediums from both emerging and established ar tists. With an aim to create an exclusive meeting point between the East and the West, BAF is attracting ar t enthusiasts from all over the world and helping reposition Beirut as the cultural and intellectual capital of the Arab world. It’s also contr ibuting to the development of Beirut’s ar t scene. “BAF has become a prominent showcase of design and creativity within the ar t market,” says d’hauteville. “It is a unique source of information on trends, galler ies, ar tists, and institutions, which contr ibute to the rapid growth of ar t in the region. Our passion is to nur ture an inspir ing worldwide dialogue through ar t and our desire is to stay on the forefront of the ar t scene.” She believes that it’s an important time for Lebanon, a countr y that has always been open to the ar ts, as it finds its international relevance again; “In Europe, the Lebanese ar t scene fascinates ever y ar t specialist.” Held simultaneously with BAF, Beirut Art Week (BAW) brings the city to life; showcasing art beyond the walls of the art gallery in the streets and boutiques of Downtown district. “Beirut lives under the rhythm of contemporary art, thus, the artists are invited to express themselves in the urban landscape of the capital. BAW is a way to re-discover the famous architecture of Beirut, and the boutiques are doing a great job by accepting to display art in their showcases,” says d’hauteville. This year BAW features 24 interactive projects by artists and designers, showcased around Beirut’s symbolic landmarks such as Martyr’s Square, Beirut Souks, Zaitunay Bay, Saifi Village and Harbour Square.