“Nabad was launched last November as an intervention in the artistic and cultural milieu in Lebanon. It’s a Lebanese-Palestinian program financed by Dar al Kalima University in Bethlehem, whose director Dr. Mitri Raheb is a friend of Pamela Chrabieh, founder and program manager.
For now, they are at the first phase of activity, in Lebanon until May 2021, hoping to secure more funds to become permanent and evolve regionally.
“After the explosion, Dr. Mitri called me, he asked me how his university could help,” Chrabieh recalled to The New Arab. “Emergency help was big for the first three months, so we were wondering how to make an impact on the long-term.”
After contacting her friend Roula Salibi, the projects coordinator, they started a two-month work of field research, identifying the different cultural actors of the area, talking to them, and identifying the real needs on the ground. They ended up conceiving a hybrid program, based on art intervention, outreach, empowerment, and artistic creation.
“At the beginning, we thought we would focus on relief,” Salibi told The New Arab. “But we saw that people were already helped a lot by NGOs and small organizations, to renovate studios and galleries for example. What they were wondering was: how can we survive and work in the long-term?”
In order to support artists and creative companies efficiently, Nabda launched a platform called Arleb with a first online exhibition of more than 500 works made by 61 emerging and established artists.
“Because of the pandemic, it’s not possible to go see an exhibition,” Chrabieh said. “So we decided to give artists a platform, free of charge, where they could exhibit and sell their work, mainly abroad because they need “fresh dollars” in order to be able to afford material.
“But it’s not just financial. The theme was set, on cultural resistance and Beirut, so most of them did create something new. I think the most important for us is to see artists be dynamic again, feeling boosted to create.”
Among their multiple ideas and projects, the team members try mostly to give back a voice to the cultural actors who may be overwhelmed by the situation.
“We’re doing whatever we can with the budget we got,” Chrabieh said. “Everything we do is based on community and solidarity, so that the heart of cultural Beirut beats a little. The situation is very tough, and we just want to give to artists, promote their work, and hope better days will come.”