On cultural resistance and art crushes

Nadine Fayad, gallery owner, art lover and collector, talks to ArtScoops about the significance of the art emerging from Lebanon’s uprising and why following your heart when buying artworks is a good idea

How did Nadine Fayad Art Gallery adapt to accommodate the challenges of 2020/21, namely the Covid-19 pandemic and economic crisis in Lebanon? Do you expect any of the adaptations made, such as online shows or greater use of social media, to remain permanent as the pandemic eases?

The coronavirus outbreak rapidly changed the way we were used to working, not to mention the way we lived, forcing us all to adapt to a new trend of business models, since art fairs, exhibitions and workshops were put on hold.

Responding to the shifting professional landscape around us, we needed to find ways to innovate and move forward. In order to overcome the challenges of the pandemic, we literally moved from the gallery to ‘home’, while strengthening our online gallery presence and social media activities. This helped us to reach our ‘sheltered-in-place’ clients and share our news with them. Will this ‘modus operandi’ remain in place post-corona? I’m not quite sure when things will return to ‘normal’. The shift to the virtual world of work is an opportunity and will remain in place, but hand in hand with the traditional tools, with broader horizons and more openings.


Art has long served as a platform for artists to comment on the broader societal, economic and political scene. What are your observations on the way that Lebanese artists are interpreting the current crisis in their work?

During the ongoing crisis, artists have turned to different routes to express their cultural resistance: working from home, posting their work online across multiple social media platforms from one side and, in a cooler manner, invading the streets with graffiti and paintings, which are helping them to reach the public here and there.

The accounts created on Instagram, established through showcased works, are also popular with viewers, mirroring the peaceful protests and, most importantly, creating a memento of history to look back on when it’s time to heal, paving the way to a better future.


You are the representatives of the renowned Beirut artist Raouf Rifai. What particular characteristics of his work do you think makes it so special? 

It is Lebanon that connects me to Raouf Rifai. His colours, his creativity, his sketch and his innovation keep bringing me back to my beloved country. Raouf has a unique signature in his art, which is the Darwich. This iconic figure represents a Middle Eastern persona that many of us can relate to. 

What projects and shows does Nadine Fayad Art Gallery have in the pipeline?

Cherishing our work, and despite the pandemic and economic downturn, we have created an aggressive marketing calendar, encapsulating an array of activities. To list but a few, we have ongoing advertising and social media campaigns, participation at events and fairs, collaborations with museums to represent Raouf Rifai’s artworks and activities with architects and interior designers in the pipeline among others. 


You are known to be passionate about collecting contemporary figurative and abstract painting and sculpture. What contributory factors do you take into account when deciding whether or not to buy a piece of art and what advice do you give to customers ahead of the decision-making process? 


First of all, it is important to buy what you love (otherwise known as ‘art crush’). An important factor that I take into consideration is the reputation and value of the artist, such as whether they are represented in museums, fairs, auctions and private collections. I advise my customers to buy what they love and to acquire an artwork that reflects their soul – also, to consider buying art as a valuable investment and to keep a beautiful piece of artwork in their collection.


Nadine Fayad Art Gallery is currently presenting a wide-ranging exhibition of works by the renowned Lebanese artist Raouf Rifai. For more information, go to www.nadinefayadartgallery.com. 

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