An exhibition commemorating an artist who was killed in the catastrophic explosion in Beirut last year seeks to convey a message of hope and resilience to Lebanon amid economic crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.
The exhibition, titled Everyone Is the Creator of One’s Own Faith, is staged at the historic Tabbal Building in the Achrafieh district, a few hundred meters from the port where the blast occurred on August 4. It was created as a tribute by Annie Vartivarian to her daughter Gaïa Fodoulian, a young Lebanese designer was killed before she could complete her project of creating a virtual art gallery.
“The exhibition is an effort to continue what Gaïa has started and could not finish,” Vartivarian said. “It is also meant to keep her memory and presence alive. She wanted to have a virtual gallery without walls, a project she had started in 2019 when the world was still not operating online.”
The exhibition is the inaugural event of Art Design Lebanon, the digital platform and pop-up gallery that Fodoulian was working on when her life was cut short.
A Gallery That Moves About
“Gaïa did not want to set up a permanent gallery but to use different spaces and places,” her mother said. “Even if her life ended, her soul continues to live among us. We did not want to stop what she had started. We insisted on holding the exhibition and to live the moment because we don’t know what tomorrow brings in such a volatile country as Lebanon.”
Vartivarian, herself an art patron and gallerist, added that Art Design Lebanon “is dedicated to supporting and showcasing the work of Lebanese and international visual artists and designers. It is a cultural space that promotes dialogue and supports the creative community of the region.”
The exhibition brings together eight local artists and designers who were asked to create works inspired by the exhibition title. Their responses were expressed through a range of mediums, including illustration, photography, neon artwork, sculpture and furniture.