Founded by Joumana Asseily, Marfa’, which means port in Arabic, is a new contemporary art gallery located in Beirut.
It opened its doors on October 22nd 2015 with an inaugural exhibition by Lebanese artist Vartan Avakian.
The gallery’s mission is to establish itself as a new and original space within the city’s flourishing artistic landscape, by working closely with contemporary artists from diverse backgrounds on idea-based projects.
Marfa’, Asseily’s latest project, was founded as the result of a collective notion that the art scene in Lebanon was calling for new spaces.
Asseily says, ‘The idea of creating a new gallery in Beirut emerged from conversations with curators and artists in Lebanon and abroad. In a way, I can say that it has been a collective decision. At Marfa’ we are looking for innovative ways to engage diverse audiences through the work of contemporary artists’.
Joumana Asseily studied art and architecture in Paris, and in 2001 moved to Los Angeles where she witnessed the evolution of the contemporary art scene in California and as a result, began collecting art. In 2006 she moved to Beirut and since has collaborated with non-profit art organisations such as Ashkal Alwan, the Beirut Art Center and the Arab Image Foundation.
Marfa’ launches with ‘Collapsing Clouds of Gas and Dust’, Vartan Avakian’s first solo exhibition in Lebanon. The exhibition will present a series of photographs alongside new works from an ongoing conceptual project by the artist: an elaborate artistic and scientific process whereby a set of crystals is made of dust collected in Beirut’s Barakat Building. Avakian will also take part in an exhibition at the Sursock Museum, relaunching in Beirut on October 8th 2015.
‘We want to take part in a bilateral dynamic: redefining global interest in Lebanese contemporary art and participating in the rising interest in art in Lebanon. But our intention is also to introduce artists from abroad to the local audiences, and to accompany the artists on the international art scene’.