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PARIS: The Menart fair will resume its work in the private mansion of the Cornette de Saint-Cyr for the second edition from 19 to 22 May. This Wednesday at the end of the day, on the eve of the opening for the public, we hang the last paintings on the walls, check the horizontality of the rails of the paintings, stick labels for the works.

This Wednesday at the end of the day, on the eve of the opening for the public, we hang the last paintings on the walls, check the horizontality of the rails of the paintings, stick labels for the works. Photo by Anna Iltsinkas

The International Fair of Contemporary Art, dedicated to artists from the Middle East and North Africa, this time offers the public, informed professionals or educated amateurs about 250 works by 98 artists from 18 galleries from 12 countries, with a special focus on modernity.

“How to understand modernity, if we do not return to the origins of modernity with all the influences that cross the artists of the Arab world,” – explains to Arabic News in French, the director of the fair Lor d’Otville. We asked each gallery to show us one, two or three contemporary artists from the country they come from. »

View of the Lebanese gallery Saleh Barakat. Photo by Anna Iltsinkas

This modernity will also be honored through a special exhibition dedicated to the Casablanca school. In 1962, the artist Farid Belkachia (1934-2014) was appointed director of the School of Fine Arts in Casablanca. With a group of artists and teachers Mohamed Melehi (1936-2020), Mohamed Chabaa (1935-2013) and Mohamed Hamidi (1941), he seeks to rebuild the pedagogical foundations of art education. Together, they are investing in Morocco’s popular and traditional artistic heritage by introducing traditional handicraft practices using materials such as leather, metal and natural pigments, as well as returning to attractiveness, geometry and Berber, Arab-Muslim and African signs and symbols.

A movement in search of the artistic and cultural modernity of Morocco, the Casablanca school challenges the institution and history of Eurocentric art. “These six Moroccan Art Nouveau artists will be exhibited for the first time in Paris. These are absolutely extraordinary works selected by curator Fadia Antar. »
Another novelty this year is a space dedicated to the NFT Maine universe, with about twenty works, video, digital, virtual reality. Brian Beccafico, a collector and curator of space, offers an exciting experience thanks to its dynamic and multidisciplinary scenography. “The Menart Fair is also a state-of-the-art fair,” explains its director. Many artists live in conflict-ridden countries where they cannot express themselves freely. But thanks to the NFT, which is a form of passport for artists, they are free to express themselves without pressure from the countries in which they live.

A space dedicated to the Mena NFT universe. Photo by Anna Iltsinkas

New galleries are taking part in the event this year. The very young Salahina Gallery (Paris) displays colorful and symbolic paintings by Lebanese photographer Ayla Hibri, and the Bessière Gallery (Chatou) returns with photographs with clear and clean lines by Serge Najjar and abstract paintings by Hala Shukair, daughter of the great artist Salou Rau. artistic coming-out ”at the age of 65. Lebanese art is also awarded to 35 artists from the country of Cedars, represented by 7 galleries.

Ahead are photos of Serge Nijar. Photo by Anna Iltsinkas

Algerian artist Baia Mahieddin is represented by three galleries: Ayn gallery (France), Elmarsa (Tunisia – UAE) and Le violon bleu (Tunisia). “Opened in 1947 by Andre Breton, Bahia, who passed through Picasso’s studio, is truly a leader,” explains Lor d’Autville, an art enthusiast from the Maine region and founder of the Beirut Art Fair in 2010.

Bai’s works. Photo by Anna Iltsinkas.

Thus, the Menart Fair brings to the capital of art a brief overview of the art scene in the Maine region. “Menard brings something important to France, because France has fairs dedicated to Asia or Africa, but nothing about the Middle East,” she said. Moreover, when we talk about the Middle East, we are often talking about conflicts in general. But was the public interested in the artistic life of these countries, wealth and incredible discoveries? More and more institutions come to the Menart Fair and this is a question and they look very closely at the art of our regions. “

The works of Saudi artist Faisal Samr are presented in the 4 Walls Gallery. Photo by Anna Iltsinkas

The confidential fair, created as a result of the meeting of Laur d’Otville and Joanna Chevalier during childbirth in March 2020, Menart Fair is also starting to be exported, as a new edition is scheduled for January 2023 in Brussels at the Villa Empein Boghsian Foundation. .

At the Menart Fair. Photo by Anna Iltsinkas

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