Thursday, 5 April 2012


The Arab Image Foundation is a non-profit organisation established in Beirut in 1997 to preserve and study photographs from the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab diaspora. The ongoing research and acquisition of photographs include so far Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Iran, Mexico, Argentina and Senegal. To date, the collection holds more than 400,000 photographs. In 1997 the founders – photographers Fouad el Koury and Samer Mohdad, and artist Akram Zaatari – were motivated by the deteriorating photographs they saw in their own family albums and in dusty commercial photo studios to establish an institution that would collect and conserve this heritage.With their first grant the original core group brought in Zeina Arida as executive director and were thus freed to conduct collecting and research missions while she established the office, took over fundraising, and developed the organization’s structure. Above, the building where the Arab Image Foundation has its offices in Gemmayze neighbourhood of Beirut

and the archives of the Arab Image Foundation

Beirut Art Centre
BAC was started in 2009 by ex-gallerist Sandra Dagher and artist Lamia Joreige.
Beirut Art Center is a non-profit association, space and platform dedicated to contemporary art in Lebanon. The aim of the center is to produce, present and promote local and international contemporary art and cultural practice in a structure that is open and active throughout the year. Along with its main exhibition space, BAC includes a screening and performance room, a mediatheque and a bookshop. BAC will also organize regular activities such as lectures, concerts, performances, video projections and workshops.

Revolution Vs Revolution exhibition at Beirut Art Centre

Alfredo Jaar's 1968 work at Revolution exhibition at BAC, a found image of the 68 demonstrations shows two students holding a mirror which reflects the military. In Jaar's original version the image diffused until almost disappearing, signalling the lost of the revolutionary ideals of 68. In this new version, the image comes to the foreground again, a sign of the current relevance of this ideals again today.

BAC's Mediatheque containing media archive of artists of the region

and BAC's bookshop.

The building where The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts, Ashkan Alwan, is located, next to BAC. Ashkal Alwan (in Arabic: forms and colours) was founded in 1994 by Christine Tohme (Curator), Marwan Rechmaoui (Artist), Rania Tabbara (Graphic Designer and Interior Designer), Mustapha Yamout (Cultural Events Organizer) and Leila Mroueh (Communications Director). Ashkal Alwan is a non-profit association which functions as a platform for the creation and exchange of artistic practices. It is committed to education, production, support and circulation of creative and intellectual endeavors rooted in an engagement with civil society. Initially, Ashkal Alwan promoted and introduced the work of artists who have been engaged in critical art practices within the context of post-war Lebanon. Ashkan Alwan also organises Home Works, a discussion forum that happens every two years.

the new spaces of Ashkal Alwan's independent art school, Home Workspace Programme HWP, architecture design by
The HWP is an annual, interdisciplinary arts program launched by Ashkal Alwan in 2011. The program targets emerging artists who wish to develop their formal, historical, and critical skills and practice in a supportive environment in Beirut. Each edition or class of the HWP runs for 10 months, led by a different Resident Professor, the first one being artist Emily Jacir,  each year and admitting approximately 15 participants. Part academic, part practice-based, the curriculum consists of lectures, workshops and seminars by the RP and other leading local and international artists, writers, thinkers, filmmakers, curators, etc. Participants are expected to reside in Beirut for 10 months with limited outside engagements, to participate actively in the various activities initiated by the RP and other visiting professors, and to develop and produce a project.

Hassan Shariff's documentation of his extraordinary performance work from the early 1980s at Sfeir Semler

and a beautiful painting by Etel Adnan at the office of Sfeir Semler gallery

Beirut Exhibition Centre building by L.E.FT architects

How Soon is Now: A Tribute to Dreamers, an exhibition of Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige at BEC presented by Ashkal Alwan and the Beirut Exhibition Center

Hadjithomas and Joreige's Circle of Confusion, take away images/fragments of Beiruts which reveal a mirror underneath

Hadjithomas and Joreige's, Lebanese Rocket Society, an exploration of the Armenian-Lebanese space program initiated in the 1960s that successfully launched the first regional rocket

Hadjithomas and Joreige' Latent Images, Diary of a Photographer, description of images which were not developed by a photographer who disappeared during the war in Lebanon

and Rabih Moure as a Beirut taxi driver in a film by Hadjithomas and Joreige

98weeks is an artists organization and a Project Space (since nov. 2009) founded by artist Marwa Arsanios and curator Mirene Arsanios on the 31st of October 2007. It is conceived as a research project that shifts its attention to a new topic every 98 weeks. Focusing on artistic research, combining both theoretical and practical forms of inquiry, 98weeks’ projects take multiple forms such as workshops, community projects, seminars, reading groups, publications and exhibitions. Today, 98weeks team is Mirene and Marwa Arsanios and Yasmine Chemali. 98weeks also collaborates with curator Cecilia Andersson. 2 years after its founding, 98weeks has opened a non-profit project space in the Mar Mkhael area of Beirut.The project space is a 50 sq storefront in Mar Mkhael distributed over 2 floors
; A library and a reading room presenting 98 research archives as well as an archive on historical and contemporary arts and cultural publications; A space that invites artists to think their practices as research and develop ideas, exhibitions and projects; A platform where artists, cultural practitioners and neighbors are welcome to propose ideas; A space to enhance self-organized initiatives and the sharing of artistic resources.

Mirene Arsanios from 98 weeks

98 Weeks' Book of Ideas

and Lunch at Tawlet, Kamal Mouzawak's restaurant.
"Tawlet is an open kitchen, where every day of the week, a different producer/cook from the family of the Souk, prepares typical food from her region - zenkol, samke harra, kebbeh bassalyieh, maftouleh, reshta.. Each day, a different cook, a different producer, a different meal, a different story!" Tawlet offers an open buffet with at least 10 to 11 authentic Lebanese dishes varying from salads, appetizers and main course (vegetarian and non-vegetarian). An open sweets buffet as well serving traditional Lebanese sweets and drinks. Tawlet also offers cooking lessons.
Son of a farmer, Kamal set up Beirut's first Farmer's Market  at the souk in central Beirut every Saturday since 2004. Called Souk el-Tayeb the farmer's market is a celebration of food and its traditions – this is especially important in a country like Lebanon which has had a tumultuous history and has long suffered from ethnic and religious divides. Kamal uses the Souk to assist local producers to become sustainable businesses and uses the Souk's kitchen – where different local women from surrounding villages cook each day – to help break down religious, political and cultural barriers. See Kamal's TED talk here.

Tawlet Restaurant, Chalhoub Bldg, Naher Street  #12 (Jisr el-Hadeed), Mar Mikhael neighbourhood

and a protest on World Theatre day against the closure and demolition of Theatre de Beyrouth. "Reddo el Masrah la Beirut" (Reclaim the Theatre for Beirut) aims for the protection of Beirut Theatre, and was a theatrical event and a protest against the closure of the theatre and against the diminishing cultural and public space in Lebanon. Read more here.

1 comment:

  1. I really like your blog I've been sharing in fb,
    Let us know when you visit Toronto!
    meanwhile, check out a relevant project we are working on.
    All the best,