Lebanon’s art scene has been taking hit after hit this past year, from economic woes, pandemic lockdown and an explosion said to be the third-largest in history.
Artists and cultural spaces have been struggling to survive amid these multiple crises, with many ceasing work all together.
“Reviving Beirut through Arts and Culture” is an initiative launched by one firm hoping to help the cultural sector get back on its feet through free communications.
“We wanted to contribute in a way, something that we believed in,” Mirros Communications founder Joumana Rizk told The Daily Star. “What we’re best at is communicating about arts and culture, which we’ve been doing for years.
“After COVID-19 and the explosion it’s been very empty so we thought of starting this project to help revive Beirut’s art scene and encourage the artists and galleries to produce, create and come up with new ideas, for which we would provide with our communications services free of charge.
“Our mission is to support them and save Beirut’s identity, which is not only destroyed homes and cultural scene, but also a creative and vibrant place we want back, maybe give some positivity and hope to everyone,” she added. “It’s also to inspire them to create, to produce something, because at times of great emotion some of the most powerful work is made, from paintings to dance or performance.”
The initiative also hopes to attract potential buyers or investors for these artists, to help them recoup some of the business and exposure they’ve lost this year, whether from being unable to exhibit due to coronavirus, or having lost homes or work in the blast.
So far, the scheme has supported two projects: Abed El Kadiri’s “Today I would Like to be a Tree” murals at the damaged Galerie Tanit, and the new street art mural “Hope,” painted by EpS, Spaz and Exist on Le Gray’s boarded up façade.
“We have many initiatives being prepared that we’re hoping to unveil soon. We also hoping to acquire funding, because if someone needs a video made or something, we can’t expect these people to provide their skills pro bono, so we’re asking for funding in these cases to help these people too,” Rizk said. “We’re also partnering with the NGO Empower, who work with youngsters and could possibly provide volunteers for events and help monitor the project to help obtain our objectives. The project is over a year so it will take a lot of organization.”
Another initiative they’re supporting is “Nafas,” by the NGO Art in Motion, which aims to combat the stress and despair of recent events via the arts. The program of “Nafas” is yet to be announced, but the NGO hopes to stage music workshops and performances, environmental and artisanal designers, installations, video art and photos in public spaces.