Hala Schoukair, Untitled N°4, 2019, ink drawing on paper, 76 x 56 cm

The second edition of the international modern and contemporary art fair dedicated to artists from the Middle East and North Africa returns from the 19th to the 22nd of May, in the private mansion of the Cornette de Saint Cyr.

About twenty international galleries presenting artists from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrein, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Sultanate of Oman and Yemen, will highlight the potential, singularity and originality of the artistic scene of the ME.NA region, supported today by many museums and institutions.

The Levant is a region where both modern and contemporary artists have re-appropriated their chaotic and unstable daily lives and integrated them into their art. The contemporary creation of these regions knows a strong development, conveyed by the Arab uprisings. Faced with a duty of memory, they keep alive past events and are interested in the longer-term impacts of these conflicts on the populations.

The experience of the civil war in Lebanon and the Arab-Israeli conflict constitute issues of memory that artists, particularly Palestinian and Jordanian, seize upon to denounce the silences, the occultations and the unspoken (notions of territory, refugees and tradition).

Lebanon is a central place in the region, of contemporary cultural production. Indeed, it possesses this singular ability to capture cultural flows from various sources and to play a role of mediation and filter for movements and styles, born in the West or elsewhere, in order to translate them into its own artistic frameworks.

At MENART FAIR, 35 Lebanese artists are represented by 7 galleries: Art on 56th (Beirut), Galerie Bessières (Chatou), Esther Woerdehoff (Paris, Geneva), Galerie Salahin (Paris), Galerie Tanit (Beirut, Munich), no/mad utopia (Beirut), Saleh Barakat Gallery (Beirut).

Dyala Khodary, Urban Eruption, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 80 cm
Dyala Khodary, Urban Eruption, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 80 cm
Hala Schoukair, Untitled, ink drawing on paper, 76 x 56cm
Hala Schoukair, Untitled, ink drawing on paper, 76 x 56 cm
Ribal Molaeb, Mount Lebanon, 2022, oil on canvas, 160 x 160 cm
Ribal Molaeb, Mount Lebanon, 2022, oil on canvas, 160 x 160 cm
Ayla Hibri, Idleness in The Garden Of Eden, 2022, oil on canvas, 190 x 125 cm
Ayla Hibri, Idleness in The Garden Of Eden, 2022, oil on canvas, 190 x 125 cm
Chafa Ghadar, Letter with yellow and charcoal, 2021, fresco on wood, 32 x 42 cm
Chafa Ghadar, Letter with yellow and charcoal, 2021, fresco on wood, 32 x 42 cm
Dalia Baassiri, Mount Neverest, 2022, Graphite on paper, 70x100 cm, Courtesy of the artist
Dalia Baassiri, Mount Neverest, 2022, Graphite on paper, 70×100 cm, Courtesy of the artist
Samir Sayegh, Hob, 2019, acrylic on canvas, signed and dated on the back, 150 x 100 cm
Samir Sayegh, Hob, 2019, acrylic on canvas, signed and dated on the back, 150 x 100 cm

In Syria, we observe the positioning of artists according to their degree of commitment to the regime in place. Feelings of community and national belonging have always coexisted with the sharing of broader identities, notably through Arabism and Islam.

Six Syrian artists are represented, by 3 galleries: Art on 56th (Beirut), Galerie Tanit (Beirut, Munich), Saleh Barakat Gallery (Beirut).

Kevork Mourad, Invisible Threads, 2021, Acrylic on cotton fabric, plexi, 39.5 x 57x 8 cm
Kevork Mourad, Invisible Threads, 2021, Acrylic on cotton fabric, plexi, 39.5 x 57x 8 cm
Anas Albraehe, Untitled, 2021, oil on canvas, 90 x 70 cm
Anas Albraehe, Untitled, 2021, oil on canvas, 90 x 70 cm

Egyptian artists struggle between enthusiasm and oppression. Many of them are seeking more dialogue with the international art scene to counteract what they perceive as an excessive search for Egyptian style.

One artist from Egypt is represented, by Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris, Brussels).

Youssef Nabil, Memory of a Happy Place, 2021, Tirage gélatino-argentique coloré à la main, 99,5 x 138 cm, Edition 1/5
Youssef Nabil, Memory of a Happy Place, 2021, Tirage gélatino-argentique coloré à la main, 99,5 x 138 cm, Edition 1/5

Iraqi artists mostly deal with cultural reclamation, denouncing the violence of war and Western interventions. Through the works of calligraphers, the dialogue between cultures and the pride of an artistic heritage emerges.

Four Iraqi artists are represented, by Ayyam Gallery (Dubai), Elmarsa Gallery (La Marsa, Dubai), Mono Gallery (Riyadh).

Sadik Alfraji, Nightmares of the Reeds 3, 2019, oil and ink on paper, 100x70 cm
Sadik Alfraji, Nightmares of the Reeds 3, 2019, oil and ink on paper, 100×70 cm
Saddam Jumaily, Oily Dream, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 138 x 138 cm
Saddam Jumaily, Oily Dream, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 138 x 138 cm
Muatassim Al Kubaisy, Amal, 2016, Bronze sculpture, 37 x 22 x 22 cm
Muatassim Al Kubaisy, Amal, 2016, Bronze sculpture, 37 x 22 x 22 cm

MENART FAIR Paris is on view until the 22nd of May at the private mansion of the Cornette de Saint Cyr.

Images are courtesy of MENART Fair Paris

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