Basel and beyond
Hind Ahmad, the owner of the newly opened Artual Gallery in Beirut, tells ArtScoops about her plans for the Volta International Art Fair and afterwards
Artual Gallery’s launch show on March 15 titled ‘The Thousand and One Nights’ was regarded as a huge success. Looking back, what are your reflections on the opening night and the gallery’s activities since then?
The launch exhibition was everything I’d hoped for, gathering together more than 800 people in this exciting new space. The concept, brought to life by the renowned curator Maria Brito, worked brilliantly and the surroundings were transformed into a blanket of vibrant colour, thanks to the work of the seven talented contemporary artists who participated in the show: Rosson Crow; Allison Zuckerman; Holly Coulis; Jamea Richmond-Edwards; Jonathan Chapline; Monica Kim Garza; and Canyon Castator. There was a lovely atmosphere and a lot of laughter which gave me a great deal of satisfaction. I’ve been incredibly busy since the opening, organizing our calendar. We’ve already held a collective and a solo show of work by the US artist Jonni Cheatwood, whose cartoon-inspired, textured, deconstructed portraitures proved really popular.
What are the key lessons you’ve learned since opening Artual?
The level of responsibility I feel towards to my artists and the amount of meticulous planning that needs to be done compared to operating a pop-up gallery are huge. Everything is on a much bigger scale and I’m always thinking ahead. Nothing can be left to chance! I’m also aware of the need to keep the inventory fresh and ensure consistency throughout the gallery and in the schedule. It’s daunting, but that said, when I look at the calendar of shows stretching into 2020, I’m super excited!
What can you tell us about your decision to participate in the 2019 edition of the Volta International Art Fair from June 10 to 15?
I felt that Volta was absolutely the right fit for Artual Gallery, given its reputation as a space for discovery, and an ideal way of raising our profile on the international stage. Artual will be showcasing the work of five artists in our Booth (B18): Jean Philippe Duboscq; Jonni Cheatwood; Katrin Fridriks; Rob Tucker; and Stickymonger. Each of them will be bringing something different to the fair, although they have a unifying freshness and excitement about their work. My idea is to present a thematic display that encompasses both abstract and figurative works, brought together in a vibrant mix of color.
What’s on the horizon for summer and beyond?
Plenty! After Volta, I’m really looking forward to August, when we’ll be holding an exhibition of work by the Brooklyn-based artist Jonathan Chapline, whose digitally inspired oils of suburban scenes in vibrant colour combinations, marked by flat surfaces recalling his childhood in Texas, are causing a real buzz. Then we have a group show scheduled for September which will be a collaboration with the Algerian-born, French contemporary art dealer and gallery owner, Kamel Mennour which is a hugely exciting way of entering Fall!
Untitled (From Fly Girl Series)
About Artual Gallery
Founded by Hind Ahmad, Artual Gallery is a new, 2,500 sq. ft. space located in the downtown part of the city of Beirut, which has been set up with the aim of introducing international emerging and established artists to the MENA region, showcasing their work in solo exhibitions through collaborations with leading international galleries.
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