The ninth edition of the Beirut Art Fair (BAF) will kick off on September 19 to 23 at the Beirut International Exhibition and Leisure Center. Additionally, the organizers of the annual, Middle Eastern-oriented contemporary art fair have also announced that “Beirut Art Week”, a celebration of contemporary art throughout the city, will take place from September 18 to 25.
What sets BAF apart from most art fairs is that it focuses exclusively on the MENASA region. Founded by French-born art expert Laure d’Hauteville (she is also the fair manager of Abu Dhabi Art), who has called Beirut home for over two decades, the artistic five-day event will showcase works by a number of globally feted contemporary Middle Eastern and North African artists. Past events featured works by the likes of Algerian artist Kader Attia, Lebanese contemporary media artist Walid Raad, and Palestinian-born Mona Hatoum, to name a few.
The central exhibition at last year’s fair, entitled “Ourouba: The Eye of Lebanon”, was curated by London-based Rose Issa, and featured a selection of 70 works, including paintings, photographs, sculptures, installations, and videos, by more than 40 artists borrowed from 20 public and private collections in Lebanon. This year’s edition hopes to take it a step further by gathering 60 art galleries from 20 countries under one roof. It will continue to shine a spotlight on regional artists with a non-profit exhibition of Lebanese photography, curated by Tarek Nahas, a photo collector and the manger and producer of BAF, Marine Bougaran. Meanwhile, Lebanon Modern’s curated exhibition will be dedicated to the late Lebanese-Armenian painter Paul Guiragossian.
Applications from 50 galleries from Algeria, Armenia, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Egypt, France, Iran, Italia, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Palestine, and Tunisia are currently under evaluation by the fair’s selection committee, which consists of the most renowned art collectors and curators in Lebanon: Joanna Abou Sleiman Chevalier, Tamara Inja Jaber, Basel Daloul, Abraham Karabajakian, and Nahas. The final list will be revealed on July 15, so watch this space.