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8 Lebanese Art Exhibitions You Should See this Summer
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8 Lebanese Art Exhibitions You Should See this Summer

Picture of Diana Condrea
Updated: 5 January 2017
Lebanon has all the necessary ingredients for a journey of cultural discovery. It is nation deeply connected to the realities of the surrounding region; this complex and geographically specific identity is highly visible even in the art exhibitions taking place in the country this summer. What follows is some of the best exhibitions happening in the coming months in Lebanon’s best galleries and museums.

All Mother Tongues are Difficult at Sfeir-Semler Gallery

3 April – 19 July

This original exhibition of Lebanese born artist Al Solh is the perfect treat for all those who are amazed by languages as a rich example of cultural diversity. The artist brings her own experiences up front, expressing her perspective through installations, videos, paintings, drawings and even embroideries. One of the main attractions of the exhibition is a new installation of Damascene clogs connected to the refugee movement from Syria to Lebanon, which allows visitors to experience cultural change expressed through ‘the nostalgic clomping sounds of the shoes that are falling out of use in favour of the standard flip-flop’.

Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Tannous Building – Quarantine – Lb-2077, Beirut, + 9611566550

Contre Nature
Contre Nature, 2014 / Courtesy of Beirut Art Centre

Contre Nature at Beirut Art Center

22 May – 22 August

Revolving around the complex notion of ‘repair’, Contre Nature is unquestionably one of the top art exhibitions organised this summer in Lebanon. The exhibition features Algerian artist Kader Attia’s search for ‘what binds and separates nature and culture in different spaces and at different times’, a quest expressed in various forms and media, from sculptures and videos to slides photography and collage. One of the main creations of this unconventional exhibition is the video installation Mimesis as Resistance, featuring the special ability of the lyrebird to imitate surrounding sounds, including the noises of deforestation.

Beirut Art Center, Jisr El Wati – Off Corniche an Nahr. Building 13, Street 97, Zone 66 Adlieh. Beirut, Lebanon, +96101397018

A museum of immortality
Courtesy of Ashkal Alwan

Syria’s Apex Generation at Ayyam Gallery

9 June – 2 August

Organised both in Beirut and Dubai, Syria’s Apex Generation is a group exhibition exploring how contemporary artists Nihad Al Turk, Abdul Karim Majdal Al-Beik, Othman Moussa, Mohannad Orabi, and Kais Salman are ‘responding to the current conflict in Syria through multifaceted works’. This very talented group of young Syrian painters came together during an incubator programme in 2007, an event that marked their creative path until the present time. Their current Beirut exhibition features ‘rich histories of expressionism, symbolism, and abstraction’ as part of these artists’ way of conveying the troubled social realities of their native land through art.

Ayyam Gallery, Beirut Tower, Ground Floor, Zeitoune Street, Beirut, Lebanon, +961174450/51

Opening of A Museum of Immortality on June 11, 2014 as part of Chapter 5 of HWP 2013-14.Courtesy Ashkal Alwan
Courtesy of Ashkal Alwan

A Museum of Immortality at Ashkal Alwan

11 June – 18 July

Part of the third edition of the Home Workspace Programme, led by professors Jalal Toufic and Anton Vidokle, this exhibition brings to Beirut the projects of over 50 artists from various mediums, including film and architecture. A Museum of Immortality finds its conceptual point of departure under the guidance of historian Boris Groys, who attempts to recreate a museum as ‘a machine for making things immortal’, a perspective envisaged by Russian philosopher Nikolai Fedorov in the late 19th century.

Ashkal Alwan, Jisr el Wati, Street 90, building 110, 1st floor, Beirut, Lebanon, +9611423 879

Art Factum Gallery
Courtesy of Art Factum Gallery

I Am the Two Moons at Art Factum Gallery

25 June – 26 July

Art Factum Gallery brings to Lebanon the exhibition I Am the Two Moons of Italian artist Claudia Scarsella envisaged by the creator itself as ‘a romantic encounter between myself and the Middle East; I’m absorbing, filtering, sewing what I see in an interior panorama of precise composition and geometry. It’s the map of an immobile butterfly’. The artist expresses this very particular vision through traditional and digital collages created from her own drawings and photos, all creating a well-defined patterns, aspiring to create distinct worlds through art.

Art Factum Gallery, Rehban Alley 204, building 13, Medawar district, Quarantine, Beirut, Lebanon

Art Factum Gallery
Courtesy of Art Factum Gallery

Bridge to Palestine at Beirut Exhibition Center

26 June – 3 August

Envisaged as a ‘cultural dialogue between generations of artists and geographical locations: the East and West, Ramallah, Gaza and Jerusalem’, Bridge to Palestine is an unmissable event for anyone with an interest in the Middle-East’s past decades of troubled history. The exhibition brings to surface the vision of 18 artists on one of the most acute geopolitical issues in the region. Their perspectives are expressed through sculptures, new media, photography, installations and paintings, contemplating the ‘bittersweet taste of longing for something forbidden’.

Beirut Exhibition Center, Beirut Waterfront, Beirut, Lebanon, +96 1196 2000

Beirut Art Fair

18 – 21 September

Early autumn Beirut becomes a top location for art lovers as Lebanon’s capital hosts the Beirut Art Fair, a major event during which visitors have the chance of seeing great exhibitions from around the world. Enjoying the participation of 45 galleries from 14 countries and an audience of over 18,000 visitors in 2013, this art fair became ‘a lever of the artistic life in Lebanon’ bringing to the public a multitude of must-see exhibitions featuring art in all its shapes from paintings, sculptures, installations, to video or photography.

Beirut International Exhibition Leisure Centre, Down Town, Beirut, Lebanon, + 96 1199 5555

Art from Lebanon at Beirut Exhibition Center

25 October – 9 December

Conceived as story of heritage, Art from Lebanon ‘narrates the story of modern and contemporary art in Lebanon and presents to the public the marvels of this country’. A major event on Lebanon’s cultural agenda for 2014, this exhibition offers visitors an unparalleled occasion to discover the creations of the most important 60 Lebanese artists from 1880 to 1975. Moreover, this rich art collection provides unique insights not only into ‘Lebanon’s many political, social, and cultural vicissitudes, but also the constructive changes and evolutions, that marked and shaped the country as we know it today’.

Beirut Exhibition Centre, Beirut Waterfront, Beirut, Lebanon, +96 1196 2000