Tabbal Building 1 © Vartan Seraydarian

AD Leb was originally conceived of by Gaïa Fodoulian, a young Beirut-based creative, who was tragically killed by the 4th of August explosion in Beirut. This year, to continue her legacy, her mother, Annie Vartivarian, is bringing AD Leb to life, fulfilling the vital work that Gaïa started. As an established gallerist and patron of the arts, Annie brings her wealth of experience and passion to this new initiative.

Titled Everyone is the Creator of One’s Own Faith, Art Design Lebanon’s first art exhibition opened in the historic Tabbal Building in Beirut. The exhibition’s title is a reference to the caption Gaïa Fodoulian wrote in her last Facebook post: a photo of her published on 4 August 2020 – a date that is now seared into our memories – running towards the camera, a mountain of green behind her. The picture was originally taken at the Dambulla Cave Temple, Sri Lanka, in February 2020.

Gaïa Fodoulian - August 4 Facebook Post
Gaïa Fodoulian – August 4 Facebook Post

This exhibition brings together both newly commissioned and existing works by local artists and designers who were asked to present works which respond to the theme that is evoked by the exhibition title. The participating artists and designers are Samer Bou Rjeily, Karen Chekerdjian, Hatem Imam, Sirine Fattouh, Gaïa Fodoulian, Paul Kaloustian, Nathalie Khayat, Hussein Nassereddine and Caroline Tabet. The exhibition’s scenography is designed by Ghaith&Jad.

The Artist is Present, 2019, 274 x 250 cm, Unique piece, Produced by Studiocur art X Good Bad Artist, 2021, 130 x 21 cm, Edition of 5 + 1 AP, Neon, Sirine Fattouh, © Vartan Seraydarian
The Artist is Present, 2019, 274 x 250 cm, Unique piece, Produced by Studiocur art X Good Bad Artist, 2021, 130 x 21 cm, Edition of 5 + 1 AP, Neon, Sirine Fattouh, © Vartan Seraydarian

Their responses to the title are expressed through a range of mediums including illustration, photography, neon artwork and furniture. The exhibition questions what it means to produce and exhibit art amid the daily precariousness we face in Lebanon.

Light Sleepers (208 flames) 2, 2021, Variable Dimensions, Unique pieces, Stoneware and Porcelain, Raku fired, Nathalie Khayat © Vartan Seraydarian
Light Sleepers (208 flames) 2, 2021, Variable Dimensions, Unique pieces, Stoneware and Porcelain, Raku fired, Nathalie Khayat © Vartan Seraydarian

All proceeds from AD Leb will go to support the Gaïa Fodoulian Foundation, an organisation founded in Gaïa’s memory to carry on her passion for animal welfare, particularly stray animals and other animals in need. The Foundation is run by Gaïa’s sister, Mariana Fodoulian, a veterinary doctor.

Untitled 1, 2020, 816 x 150 cm, Burnt wood, Samer Bou Rjeily © Vartan Seraydarian
Untitled 1, 2020, 816 x 150 cm, Burnt wood, Samer Bou Rjeily © Vartan Seraydarian

The exhibition runs until the 29th of April at Tabbal Building.

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