110m - Mediocre location but serving very authentic and tasteful Lebanese...
Strongly committed to contemporary and modern art in Lebanon
Gallerist Nadine Majdalani Begdache has been curating exhibitions, nurturing local talent and putting predominantly Lebanese and Arab art on the local and international map for decades.
Even shortly before an opening, Begdache answers questions in an unflappable manner, generously shares insights and anecdotes. The quiet confidence may well stem from an unusual upbringing and a remarkable mother: Janine Rubeiz.
“All painters were her friends, I knew them as a young girl and I would go to the café with my mom, where she’d meet with many poets,” Begdache recounted.
Rubeiz who established Dar al Fan in Damascus Road in 1967, effectively the first Lebanese cultural center, was a pioneering effort, screening films, staging puppet shows and art classes for children, hosting local and foreign artists and intellectuals. Among those involved or regularly frequenting this Lebanese cultural hub were Yvonne Sursock, Lady Cochrane, Etel Adnan, as well as Kamal Jumblatt and Musa Sadr.
During the eight years of its existence, Dar el Fan organized and presented over 240 conferences and debates, 60 poetry nights, 90 exhibitions, 150 film screenings and six plays!
In 1976, militias willfully destroyed Dar el Fan. Albeit the war, Rubeiz went on to host exhibitions and conferences, in the 80s, at her home in Raouché, eventually morphed half her flat into a gallery.
Begdache decided to open a gallery a year after her mother’s passing away in 1992. The gallery settled into the current space in Raouché in 2010 and with that change Begdache moved into the contemporary and left the classic behind.
The gallery organizes between six to eight art exhibitions per year, often showcasing young artists. “They use different media than merely painting,” the gallerist notes. “One has to move with the times. Young artists really need to be exhibited as the public displays little curiosity. People have lost that habit of going to see art, they attend exhibitions because they know the artist or someone who knows him/her.”
“There has been a very big and rapid change in the local art scene,” Begdache observed. “With this new generation of artists, there is also a new generation of collectors; buying art has become trendy.”