BEIRUT ART FAIR 2016: INCREASED SALES & MORE PRESTIGE

When BEIRUT ART FAIR 2016 drew to a successful conclusion on 18 September, it had welcomed more than 23,000 visitors (compared to 21,000 in 2015). The 7th edition of the fair registered a turnover of $3.2 million, representing a 25% increase in average earnings per gallery compared to the previous year, while 87% of galleries present achieved sales.

BEIRUT ART FAIR has thus reinforced its position as an indispensable meeting place for collectors from Lebanon and the surrounding region. The decision to narrow the focus of the 2016 edition paid dividends, with a marked increase in quality that supported the fair’s twofold mission: to uncover the region’s brightest young talents, and to offer a unique stage for spotlighting the most important artists from previous generations.

This spirit of discovery and affirmation was illustrated by REVEALING by SGBL, the fair’s new section dedicated to presenting young talents, and by LEBANON MODERN! – an exhibition devoted to Lebanese women artists active from 1945 to 1975.

Photography also enjoyed pride of place at the 7th edition of BEIRUT ART FAIR. To mark its fifth year, the BYBLOS BANK AWARD invited Franco-Algerian artist Halida Boughriet to conduct a workshop for five young photographers selected from among the finalists for previous years’ awards. These included Myriam Boulos, Ghaleb Cabbabe, Tarek Haddad, Lama Mattar and Carmen Yahchouchy. This year’s prize was awarded to the young photographer Elsn Lahoud for his series “Ehtiyat” (“Military Reserve”), marked by an intensely personal approach to the latest group of draftees to Lebanon’s compulsory military service. The prize consists of a program of professional counselling and support including mentoring from photographer Serge Najjar, and an exhibition to be hosted at the bank’s headquarters.

Elie Saab also presented Evangelia Kranioti’s remarkable series UNLIGHT / SUNLIGHT in a vast, dedicated space. Kranioti produced the series during an artistic residence that formed part of the Elie Saab Fellowship, won during the 30th International Fashion and Photography Festival in Hyères (France) in 2015.

Lebanese Minister of Culture M. Raymond Araygi said: “BEIRUT ART FAIR is a flagship event for the Lebanese arts and culture scene. This 7th edition helped to highlight not only the extraordinary effervescence of this art scene, but also Beirut’s capacity to attract international galleries.”

Lebanese Minister of Tourism M. Michel Pharaon said: “Thanks to the quality of Lebanese and international artists presented, BEIRUT ART FAIR has become an eagerly anticipated event in Lebanon, the region and the world. Lebanon’s image is increasingly positive thanks to the fair and the energy that it creates.”

The 7th edition of BEIRUT ART FAIR featured 45 galleries based in 20 countries.

The new REVEALING BY SGBL section presented 27 promising young talents.

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