Saleh Barakat Gallery

Splendid metamorphosis of Clemenceau Cinema to White Cube Gallery

Saleh Baraket admits to working in 5-year plans. To mark the 25th anniversary of his first gallery in Hamra, Agial, he made took a significant financial risk upon himself to acquire and transform Cinema Clemenceau into the Saleh Barakat Gallery. The result is a spacious and truly splendid new gallery that was the perfect setting for Nabil Nahas, the artist with whom Barakat opened his new venture. Without a doubt, it will be for other artists too.

The first cinema of "Art et Essais" in the Middle East, Cinema Clemenceau opened in 1964. It showed Tarkovsky, Fellini, Antonioni, Bergmann and Costa Gavras amongst many others. Barkat has fond memories of watching these movies there. The space, steeped in culture for decades, was also home to a theatre at some stage.

While he will retain Agial, the gallery space that has been showcasing Arab artists for 25 years, the new gallery on Justinian Street, which has a reception area and exhibition space on the street level, as well as a huge lower ground floor where the cinema used to be that allows for oversize artworks to be displayed and visitors to view them with the necessary spatial perspective. All in all, Saleh Barakat Gallery has 900 square meters

Barakat is a reputed curator who participates in art-fairs, off-site projects and also publications. He’s advised on various museum projects in the region and is frequently sought out by institutions further afield seeking to exhibit modern and contemporary Arab artists.

Instability on many levels in Beirut and Lebanon in general may deter even ardent art lovers and art patrons from investing in the field. Against all the odds though, Beirut has seen the realisation of state of the art, sophisticated institutions in the past year.

Thus the Saleh Barakat Gallery, and the other new kid on the artistic block, Dar el Nimer for Arts & Culture Having Dar el Nimer for Arts & Culture as almost immediate neighbour, effectively transforms this part of Hamra into a must-see, cutting-edge artistic destination.  

 

Art Galleries

Words By Nathalie Rosa | Photography Courtesy of Saleh Barakat Gallery


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