First, there is the setting… A magnificent garden in the shade of huge ficus trees, with green paths, punctuated sometimes by stone bleachers, sometimes by wooden benches, to accommodate the students of the establishment and the cultural events that the Graduate School of Business (ESA) organizes throughout the year. Inaugurated on June 23, this project is an initiative of the Obegi and Ibrahimchah families and was carried out by the architecture office of Raed Abillama. The Henry and Nadège Obegi gardens were the scene of the launch of the artistic and cultural season with the opening of the exhibition “Sculptures in the garden”. On a white marble bench we can read: “Humility, courage and respect for others”, a sentence that makes you dream. If only every Lebanese could apply it…
What would become of art without its patrons?
Initiator of the exhibition, the BEMO bank has always believed that culture and art are essential, even necessary, in times of crisis to maintain a breath of life and hope. To the gallery owner Saleh Barakat, she has entrusted the care of embellishing the stroll by implanting sculptures which sometimes blend into the natural decor, sometimes mark their presence by standing out in a ray of sunshine. The gallerist judges that at a time of total collapse that the country is undergoing, economically, socially and politically, art can make a difference. With Riad Obegi, Chairman of the Board of BEMO Bank, the initiative to animate this new space has been taken. “It is important to give Lebanese people something to think about,” insists Saleh Barakat. When they plan their garden, introducing art into it is an act of cultural resistance. Art as a weapon against obscurantism and fanaticism. The art of gathering, of resisting. And to add: “I would like art (increasingly present in our lives) to take up even more space in our daily lives, to create an installation in a public space is to witness a democratization of art is the opportunity to improve nature without invading it, it is to let art take place in the majority of places we go, it is to allow visitors to live unique experiences by the simple Wandering around in a garden or in a park is to bring works of art out of their museums or galleries to share them with others, it is to put art in the street, in the gardens, at the everyone’s reach. When the Emirates and the Gulf countries organize biennials, procure the greatest works of art and invite the greatest sculptors, we cannot remain inactive, even on a small scale. »
Dialogue with nature
In the shade of giant ficus trees, nine artists have taken over this space to breathe an additional soul into it and invite visitors on an artistic stroll. An unpremeditated installation which nevertheless gives the impression that each sculpture is in perfect dialogue with nature. The works of Serwan Baran, Anachar Basbous, Ginane Makki Bacho, Bernard Ghanem, Joseph Hourani, Abdul Rahman Katanani, Samar Mogharbel, Hady Sy and Katya Traboulsi take to the air. The Lebanese architect and urban planner Joseph Hourany, also holder of two degrees in philosophy and musicology, offers a sculpture in beech wood at the height of a man. With him, the creative process is related to the path to another form. The work can thus spontaneously absorb additions, withdrawals, technical modifications, without disturbing its essential order. The corrugated steel and barbed wire lotuses of Abdul Rahman Katanani, a Palestinian artist born in the Sabra refugee camp, float peacefully on the surface of a body of water.
The small bronze rams by Katya Traboulsi (not unlike those of the famous French artist François-Xavier Lalanne), multimedia artist based in Beirut, seem ready to graze on the green space on which they evolve. The artist had designed them in a dynamic of protest to denounce the attitude of the peoples in Panurge’s sheep. Hady Sy, a multimedia artist who works mainly with photography, realizes that the minutes following the double explosion of August 4, 2020, during which all the miraculous got up to realize that they were alive, was instant 6, 09! However, the number 609, according to the followers of numerology, guarantees the support of the angels, announces drastic changes which will perhaps lead to breaking a current life cycle.
An angelic number which will be the beginning of an evolution. If Anachar Basbous, the sculptor of Rachana, plays with steel to extort forms from it whose improbable balance seems threatened by precariousness, you have to go around his 2-meter high steel sculpture to measure all its complexity. and beauty. The black vocabulary of Ginane Makki Bacho is always present in her creations. Its steel Burj el-Murr replica gives chills to those who have known the war. You can almost hear the sound of raging violence. And the bronze prisoner stuck in a chair by Serwan Baran, an Iraqi painter and sculptor based in Beirut, is just waiting to get up. Samar Mogharbel, an artist whose practice is based on ceramics, punctuates the route with her forms in pigmented polystyrene covered with resin, animating the route with fresh colors. Bernard Ghanem has not finished exploring female silhouettes and stylizing them. So come and browse the Henry and Nadège Obegi gardens, stop at each work and participate in the resistance of art.
First, there is the setting… A magnificent garden in the shade of huge ficus trees, with green paths, punctuated sometimes by stone bleachers, sometimes by wooden benches, to accommodate the students of the establishment and the cultural events that the Graduate School of Business (ESA) organizes throughout the year. Inaugurated on June 23, this project is a…
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Natural art in the shade of ESA ficus plants
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