Menart Fair 2023

Hassan Al-Mulla, Inspired by Doha, 2021, Pastel on paper, 48 x 68 cm

The 4th edition of the Menart Fair offered a unique and diverse experience. Over 31 galleries from 11 countries have converged in Paris to showcase Art and design from the Middle East and North Africa. The event displayed a blend of rising stars and established talents from these creative regions. Held at the historic Palais d’Iéna, the headquarters of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE), the fair enjoyed sponsorship from the French Ministry of Culture and coincided with the European Heritage Days, making it a cultural highlight of the autumn.

The growing demand for art from the MENA region has attracted new galleries, marking a significant turning point in this market. Notably, one-third of the participating galleries in this edition of the Menart Fair were French, representing MENA artists alongside European talents. Despite economic challenges in Lebanon, one-third of the galleries were Lebanese, highlighting their commitment to presenting artists in Paris, a global art capital. North Africa, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar have also been well-represented. Eight galleries have introduced designers, spanning both renowned and emerging talents. This burgeoning generation of designers explored a wide spectrum, from traditional craftsmanship to cutting-edge technology.

Laila Muraywid , Le bruit léger d’une défaite, 2012, Gelatine-silver print, mounted on canvas, unique piece

Of the 31 exhibiting galleries, 11 have been loyal participants in previous Menart Fairs. Additionally, the Menart Fair has for the first time featured works from six art foundations and international institutions, adding a new dimension to the event’s offerings.

The fair’s inauguration evening featured an artistic performance titled #OnDanseChezVous, choreographed by Mehdi Kerkouche in collaboration with artist Stessy Emelie and Moroccan painter Samy Snousi. Guests also enjoyed a musical and choreographic performance of “El Baladi,” or belly dancing, by Lebanese dancer Alexandre Paulikévitch, accompanied by French harpsichordist Laure Vovard.

Several insightful round-table discussions, including those in partnership with Sorbonne University’s Expertise and Art Market Master’s program, shed light on the resilience of private initiatives in the face of political and economic challenges in the Middle East. The history and emergence of the Middle Eastern art market have also been explored, showcasing the pivotal figures who shaped it. The fair also delved into how personal passions and goals influence individuals and contribute to a more inclusive and equitable society.

In addition to these discussions, a musical conference led by Guillaume Huret from Rejoice has provided an entertaining hour of stories linking Middle Eastern and Western music. A program of artist videos screened four films centred around themes of endings, ruptures, and change expectations.

Menart Fair ensured that children were not left out, with special events during the weekend to explain the displayed artworks. The Fondation Louis Vicat hosted a workshop for creating moulded objects from Prompt natural cement, suitable for both kids and adults.

An Off-Site program took visitors to the Musée de l’Homme to explore an artistic installation by Lebanese ceramic artist Samar Mogharbel, in collaboration with the Seine-Maritime department. The Théâtre National de Chaillot opened its doors for a non-stop weekend of dance and performance, featuring Mehdi Kerkouche, along with museum walks around the Palais d’Iéna.

Palais d’Iéna- Benoit Fougeirol Palais d’Iéna. Auguste Perret

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