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A Far Eastern and Oriental Kaleidoscope
Green Tara House Gallery, a plant-filled patio and inviting benches greet visitors; inside awaits a feast for the eyes, gentle music and serenity.
After a trip to Nepal she undertook in 2011, Karima Hawwa brought back plenty of Nepali crafts and fare her friends – just like Hawwa – instantly fell in love with. There was demand for more. She changed her career and went back to Nepal and in December 2012, opened Green Tara, a veritable Far Eastern oasis in the heart of Beirut.
The furniture, textiles, carpets, jewellery, bags, lights, as well as sacred paintings and singing bowls are spread across 4 rooms. The most recent addition is furniture sourced from Indonesia, including large deckchairs, benches, stools and tables. The rest of the items hail from Nepal, Tibet, Kashmir, Bhutan, Egypt and Syria.
Over the years, Hawwa has established close relationships with her suppliers and has a growing, loyal clientele back here in Lebanon. “Many expats buy here but half of my customers are Lebanese. People often tell me they feel good coming here, they like the serene atmosphere,” she commented.
Since opening her one-of-a-kind store, Hawwa has been showcasing Nepali craftsmanship, which includes carved rural furniture. She also sells rare Buddha sculptures and statuettes and ritual objects from Tibet and Mandalas, paintings that are characterised by their bold colours and known for meditative support.
In the front room, Green Tara proves how Far Eastern and Oriental hues, shapes and aesthetics can cohabitate harmoniously. The traditional tiles on the floor speak to the Mandalas, the fine silver jewellery from Nepal, Kashmir and Tibet, the colours of the exquisite pashminas and bright Nepali carpets and the shelf filled with lighting sourced in Egypt and Syria.
A perfect way to add an Oriental touch to a bedside or lounge table are the small silver and brass lights made in Egypt. The light gently filters through small holes embossed in the brass or silver. Larger lamps can be used as hanging lamps. The colourful glass hand-blown lamps that look like grapes are manufactured outside Damascus can also be mounted or placed on a table or even on the ground.
In her office Hawwa has a range of handmade paper and felt products as well as hand-painted papier-mâché items that come from Nepal. Many of the products she sells come from women’s projects. The proceeds allow them to support their livelihoods.