Artists of Beirut is a social initiative launched in 2020, dedicated to support the Lebanese creative economy and preserve its cultural identity & heritage by promoting authentic contemporary Lebanese artists and artisans locally and internationally. Arleb by Nabad interviews Carole Ayoub from Artists of Beirut, and highlights the role of this initiative in the current arts and culture Lebanese scene.
Arleb by Nabad – Tell us more about Artists of Beirut activities.
Artists of Beirut – Each season is composed of 10-12 artists and artisans who are presented on social media with story videos and samples of their art pieces. The campaign is followed by an event that reveals the exclusive thematic collection prepared by the selection of artists and artisans around a specific theme, the first one was “Tribute to Beirut” which witnessed an overwhelming year. The event is the occasion for art lovers to discover in a live event the artists’ artworks, and it provides support as well to NGOs helping Beirut as a part of the proceeds is granted to a selected NGO. The event also features private conversations with artists as well as thematic conversations around the theme. Artists of Beirut is preparing other complementary activities that would support artists and artisans and will be launched soon.
Arleb by Nabad – What is, according to you, the impact of the Beirut blast, the socio-economic crisis, and the pandemic crisis in Lebanon on local arts and culture?
Artists of Beirut – The Impact is enormous on the artists morale and motivation first and this is impacting their inspiration, it has an impact on their financial revenues as well as art is considered luxury and not a priority in times of crisis. On another hand, Lebanese artists understood that they have a responsibility as a witness of the situation in Lebanon (immortalizing the scene of the blast through drawing, painting, photos etc…); also as a spokesperson of the oppressed population (translating into street art and various productions seen during “the Thawra”). We think that these major crises will push the Lebanese artists to play a key role as pathfinders and dreamers (of a better tomorrow) of the Lebanese society.
Arleb by Nabad – How do you think Lebanese artists will or should face this multiform crisis, and what are the new challenges that are ahead of them?
Artists of Beirut – Artists should be and are a model of resilience as they fight with Beauty against Drama, they should not stop their art creation and they should look for new opportunities (as there is plenty in times of crisis), think outside the box and outside the boundaries and borders. The new challenge for Lebanese artists is to be able as well to stay open to other cultures and artistic experimentations.
Arleb by Nabad – What are, according to you, the mid-term and long-term solutions to this crisis?
Artists of Beirut – The crisis will have an end as it’s the case with every crisis; the challenge is to sustain, innovate and prepare well for the aftermath.
Arleb by Nabad – What kind of support according to you is needed for artists to sustain and pursue their work in Lebanon?
Artists of Beirut – Artists need a lot of support on various levels, they are small entrepreneurs in need of coaching and guidance to further understand their market and client base, to define their artistic message and style, and to promote and place their art product.
Arleb by Nabad – What specific roles do arts and culture play in cultural resistance/resilience in Lebanon?
Artists of Beirut – A big role as arts and culture are one of Lebanon’s key differentiators in the region due to the country’s diversity and cultural melting pot. One of Artists of Beirut’s mission is to highlight this differentiator and showcase the Lebanese talents while helping them express their artistic message.
Arleb by Nabad – What is your outlook for the future? Where do you think we are heading regarding developments in art, politics, and cultural resistance/resilience?
Artists of Beirut – The Future should be brighter. Lebanon will always be the creative spot of the region and we will hopefully gain stability on political and economic levels to allow the development of art and culture.
Arleb by Nabad – Finally, what is your message to the emerging and marginalized artists in Lebanon?
Artists of Beirut – Don’t lose faith, help us in projecting the creative and beautiful image of Lebanon, be an active part of today’s resilience and tomorrow’s aspiration.