BEIRUT: Attractive objects are the name of the game at Le Gray hotel next week. Works by 17 painters, seven sculptors, three draftsmen, seven photographers and an embroiderer will be on display for the 10th edition of JABAL (Young Fine Artists of Lebanon).
Launched by Fransabank, JABAL was established to promote the work of emerging artists from Lebanon and around the region, with a focus on figurative art.
Other than its wariness of abstraction and conceptual art, organizers note the event does not discriminate on the basis of media or form, welcoming works of painting, photography and design.
Over the past few years the hotel has acquired a collection of local and international art – one of the reasons JABAL’s organizers chose it as the location of this show.
Some 130 aspiring artists applied to have their work exhibited in this edition of JABAL, of whom 35 were selected. Last year’s event displayed work by 25 of the hundred artists who submitted, suggesting more young artists have become aware of JABAL and are keen to have their work seen and sold.
Insofar as some of these artists have yet to be exhibited in the city’s various gallery spaces, commercial or otherwise, events such as JABAL provide significant platforms for young talents and put them in contact with collectors and exhibition venues.
Opening to the public on May 8, the two-day event will include works by Sara Abou Mrad, Myriam Boulos, Naim El Hajj, Zeina Kamareddine Badran and Charbel Torbey.
A known face on the local scene, Abou Mrad has demonstrated the breadth of her talent as a painter. An acolyte of chiaroscuro, the play of light and shadow in an image, she is always inventing techniques, and looking for new ones, to give her works a personal and contemporary perspective.
Badran recently showed a selection of her lithographs at Gemmayzeh’s Art on 56th, demonstrating how she put a modern twist on this antique form. Based on the works in her last exhibition, “Minor Elements,” the self-taught Badran may well astonish viewers with the freshness of her approach.
Using it as a metaphor for events in war-torn Syria, the donkey is a motif in Abou Shaheen’s sculptures, which explore the disintegration of the body.
Many of the works selected for this year’s edition highlight how photographers have departed from the classical roots of the form in an effort to render atmosphere. The works of Tamara Haddad ponder the role satellites play in our daily lives, and the significance of dark and light hues lend depth to landscape.
The photography of Myriam Dalal follows a very different path. Interested in depicting absence and presence via renderings of clothing, viewers may find the artwork to be quite haunting.
Identity also appears to be a preoccupation for many of the artists whose work JABAL has selected – whether the complex engravings of Rashwan Abdelbaki or Camelia Chahine’s bronzes.
JABAL 2014 will take place at Le Gray Hotel from May 8-10.