Titled Everyone is the creator of one’s own faith, Art Design Lebanon’s first art exhibition opened in the historic Tabbal Building on Sursock street in Beirut. The exhibition 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 2019. It is impossible to tell what Fodoulian had in mind when she created this post as she was killed just a few hours later. But the question of faith – what it means to have it, and more importantly, how difficult it is to live without it – is relevant today more than ever.
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 themes 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.
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.
Cataract 2, 2020-2021, 40.5 x 35.5 cm, Oil on canvas, Hatem Imam.
Light Sleepers (208 flames) 2, 2021, Variable Dimensions, Unique pieces, Stoneware and Porcelain, Raku fired, Nathalie Khayat.
Untitled 1, 2020, 816 x 150 cm, Burnt wood, Samer Bou Rjeily.
That this exhibition is taking place in one of Beirut’s endangered heritage buildings which dates back to the 1890s is no coincidence. In its own humble way, the show attempts to shed light on the city’s hidden scars and beauties, concretized in this building’s architectural makeup. Often forgotten, heritage buildings are important markers of the history of Beirut and its citizens; by safeguarding them, we are preserving the memory of the city and the people who inhabit it.
La vérité sortant du puits (Truth Coming Out of Her Well), 2021,
Fountain sculpture, 198 x 70 cm, Resin painted in white, Sirine Fattouh.
Modular bench, designed in 2014, produced in 2021, 229 x 88 cm, Unique piece, Concrete, Gaïa Fodoulian.
Totem, 2017, Karen Chekerdjian.
The exhibition will run until Thursday 29 April 2021 and will open daily from 12 till 6 pm, except for Sundays and Mondays at Tabbal Building. Everyone is the creator of one’s own faith will also be complemented by a digital exhibition for global audiences to engage with the immense diversity of creativity from the region. Art Design Lebanon (AD Leb) will allow visitors access to this talented group of creatives as well as providing a way to support the Beirut community in the wake of the explosion. A programme of further physical pop‐up exhibitions, talks and events will take place following this inaugural exhibition. Details will be announced at a later date.
The Red Castle, As It Occurred, 2020, 385 cm x 40 cm,
Alchemical red ink and limestone, Edition of 4 + 1 AP, Hussein Nassereddine.
Vies Intérieures, Antérieures (Inner Lives Previous Lives) 2, 2020, 24 x 30 cm,
Edition of 5 + 2 AP, Inkjet printed on Fine Art paper, Caroline Tabet.
Short Stories 2, 2010-2020, 67 x 57 cm, Edition of 5 + 1 AP,
Courtesy of Studio Paul Kaloustian, (Giulia Brembilla, Shoghag Ohannessian, Nathalie Fatte), Paul Kaloustian.
AD Leb is the pilot project of Gaïa Fodoulian who was killed in the Beirut port explosion of 4 August 2020. Gaïa’s mother, gallerist Annie Vartivarian, is realizing this vision as a tribute to her daughter. AD Leb is a not‐for‐profit gallery, all proceeds will go to the Gaïa Fodoulian Foundation, an organization that supports and cares for animals in need and provides assistance for animal rescuers.
A guided tour of the Tabbal Building is organized on Tuesdays at 12 noon and Saturdays at 3 pm by the Ṣilāt for Culture Association. Reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org