Joanna Chevalier: “The art of the Arab world is becoming increasingly popular in France”

PARIS: After the success of its first edition in May last year in Paris, Menart Fair returns to the Paris stage from 19 to 22 May in a private mansion Cornette de Saint Cyr, located in the 17th arrondissement of the French capital. Eighteen international galleries will feature ninety-eight artists and two hundred and fifty works from the Arab world. Opportunity to emphasize the fertility, diversity and richness of the stage and art production in the Maine region.

The day before the fair, Arabic news in French met Joanna Chevalier, a dynamic artistic director of Menart Fair, who has extensive experience in the Arab cultural and artistic scene. She talks about the challenges of this event and repeats for us the highlights of a cultural adventure dedicated exclusively to the art of the Arab world. This fair is very popular among galleries and artists from this part of the world. “In France, there is no other event that focuses on the art of the Maine region; in addition, it attracts many collectors, curators and museums who are interested in this scene, ”says Joanna Chevalier.

“It fair answers to several goals: to satisfy enthusiasm art collectors of the Middle East and North Africa, allow Western galleries to create gateways to the new artists and give artists from the Arab world a unique opportunity to establish relations with international experts “, – the expert emphasizes. She adds that “it is crucial that the galleries of the fair reflect the creative diversity of the region of choice.”

The selection of galleries is carried out in two stages. “There are galleries that spontaneously come to campaign for the fair, and we, in turn, are responsible for whether they correspond to this publication,” explains artistic director Menart Fair. “And there are galleries that we are going to campaign because they are younger. They don’t dare, they don’t know us. Vases communicate, “she said.

Each gallery organizes its own exhibition, but they all gather together for a fair. “Of course, galleries choose their artists, but it happens that some of them do not know the market well, and it is in this context that I can intervene. I am by no means an interventionist, but I advise them to present artists who can turn to the market, collectors, curators, foundations, etc., ”says the expert.

In fact, artistic tastes may not be the same on both sides of the two shores of the Mediterranean. “When you come from a country in the Middle East, the sensitivity is not necessarily the same as in Europe. That’s why it’s important that we play this advisory role, ”explains Joanna, who recalls that some artists have already been created – some of them even known around the world – and others less so.

Thus, “the Algerian artist Baia was presented by the Marsa Gallery during a previous edition; she won the coincidence of circumstances, because she was also in the eyes of Fiac “, – continues the expert. “We have finally rediscovered this artist of the 1950s, who is very popular today.” There are also “lesser-known but extremely amazing young designers, such as Anes Albrech, a young Syrian whose work is supported by the Saleh Barakat Gallery. In addition, the Ayyam Gallery has returned this year and presents very interesting artists. “

The countries of the Persian Gulf, starting with the gallery, were not left out either Ewan Al-Gassar, st Qatar and the Mono Gallery in Saudi Arabia will be present. “Three Artists from Qatar will be represented by Aivan Al Gassar and two artists from Saudi Arabia 4 Walls Galleries [en Jordanie] and Mono Gallery [à Riyad]. The artist from the Emirates will also be exhibited at the Mono Gallery, ”says Joanna Chevalier. The latter indicates this the evolution of art in the Gulf countries is extremely fast. When the goal is formulated a The condition and speed of the artists are well known.

As we can see, cultural and artistic production is booming in the Arab world. From the Persian Gulf to North Africa is a region that is politically tense due to various tensions and so on. Artists, even when it comes to abstraction, strangely enough, talk about society, politics … Obviously, they do it metaphorically or poetically. There are no violent or violent acts, but many of them have a great deal of inspiration.

The fair opens the present: it offers a space that explores the universe of NFT (“irreplaceable tokens”, known by the French abbreviation “JNF”, editor’s note) and is dedicated to artists from the Minsk region. Brian Beccafico, collector, space manager and NFT art expert, offers an exciting experience thanks to dynamic and multidisciplinary scenography in partnership with L’Atelier des artistes en exil.

“The Menart Fair allows curators, museum directors, curators, foundations and enthusiasts to meet this dynamic and interested scene. The latter develops in a paradoxical and complex geopolitical context that they do not necessarily know. This could allow artists from the region to benefit from living outside their country of origin, participating in exhibitions and combining collections and museums, ”concludes the artistic director of Menart Fair.

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