BEA­CON OF HOPE

Mod­ern art, antiques on show at Le­banon cube mu­seum

Global Times US Edition - - LIFE -

the 64- 64-year-old, year- old, whose col­or­ful, mod­ern- mod­ern-art art in­spired tie con­trasts with his gray suit. The project cost $ $7 7 mil­lion, the or­ga­niz­ers say. But the works on show only rep­re­sent a frac­tion of its founders’ pri­vate col­lec­tions, and there are plans to switch the ex­hibits ev­ery few months. Adra’s per­sonal col­lec­tion in­cludes 2,000 items from the Le­vant and Me­sopotamia re­gions, ac­cord­ing to the ex­hi­bi­tion’s cat­a­logue. The busi­ness­man says his hobby dates back to his child­hood. “I’ve been col­lect­ing stamps and coins since I was 10,” says Adra, who now heads a Beirut­based polling com­pany and owns qual­ity con­trol labs in the Gulf. He says it is time to give back. To set up the mu­seum, he banded to­gether with Syr­ian busi­ness part­ner Fida Jdeed, and fel­low Le­banese en­tre­pre­neur Badr El-Hage, El- Hage, who runs a rare book fi­firm firm in Lon­don. ‘Pay­back’

“We’ve all reached an age where we’re start­ing to ask our­selves, ‘What have you done? What have you given your coun­try?’” he says.

In re­cent years, part of the re­gion’s cul­tural her­itage has been dam­aged, de­stroyed d d or looted l db by armed d groups in­clud­ing ji­hadists.

The Is­lamic State group in par­tic­u­lar swept across large parts of Syria and neigh­bor­ing Iraq in 2014, wreck­ing count­less his­tor­i­cal sites in ter­ri­tory it con­trolled.

Mah­mud Al-Obaidi, who de­signed the mu­seum build­ing with fel­low Iraqi artist Dia Az­zawi, sees the project as com­pen­sa­tion for years of loss.

“I feel this place is pay­back for every­thing that has been de­stroyed,” says the 53-year-old, who left Iraq in 1991 for Canada.

With gov­ern­ments in the re­gion busy bat­tling trou­bled economies and poverty, per­sonal ini­tia­tives are key to pre­serv­ing cul­ture, he says.

Pass­ing civ­i­liza­tions live on in their art, Obaidi says.

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