AD Leb, a new initiative to support the creative community in Beirut to launch this March

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AD Leb, a new initiative to support the creative community in Beirut to launch this March
Tabbal Building, Courtesy of AD Leb, 2021, Photo: Vartan Seraydarian.

LONDON.- This March, AD Leb will launch as a new platform which showcases the best of the arts and culture scene in Lebanon. The new online gallery, in conjunction with an exhibition presented on the historic Sursock street, will allow visitors to access the wealth of contemporary art and design from this region, as way to support this creative community in the aftermath of the 2020 Beirut explosion.

AD Leb was originally conceived of by Gaļa Fodoulian, a young Beirut-based creative, who was tragically killed by the 4th of August explosion in Beirut. This year, to continue her legacy, her mother, Annie Vartivarian, is bringing AD Leb to life, fulfilling the vital work that Gaļa started. As an established gallerist and patron of the arts, Annie brings her wealth of experience and passion to this new initiative.

All proceeds from AD Leb will go to support the Gaļa Fodoulian Foundation, an organisation founded in Gaļa’s memory to carry on her passion for animal welfare, particularly stray animals and other animals in need. The Foundation is run by Gaļa’s sister, Mariana Fodoulian, a veterinary doctor.

AD Leb will provide a platform for creatives in the region through digital presentations as well as through a pop-up exhibition programme, with the first physical show taking place in the historic Tabbal Building in Beirut for the launch. Participating artists and designers from the region include Samer Bou Rjeily, Karen Chekerdjian, Hatem Imam, Sirine Fattouh, Gaļa Fodoulian, Paul Kaloustian, Nathalie Khayat, Hussein Nassereddine and Caroline Tabet.

For the launch exhibition, emerging and established artists and designers are creating new works as a response to the exhibition title, Everyone is the creator of one's own faith. This title refers to a line written by Gaļa Fodoulian herself as the caption of one of her last posts on social media. Taking this line as inspiration, the group exhibition will attempt to shed light on what it means to produce art amid the precariousness of daily life in Lebanon and address whether making art in extreme circumstances is an act of faith itself.

The exhibition in Beirut will take place in a striking heritage building, dating back to the 1890s, which was partially damaged by the explosions. Installed on the first floor, a host of newly created contemporary design and artwork will be presented in dialogue with each other, as a powerful testament to the resilience of this community within the historic setting of this traditional architecture.

Everyone is the creator of one's own faith will also be complemented by a digital exhibition for global audiences to engage with the immense diversity of creativity from the region. AD Leb will allow visitors access to this talented group of creatives as well as provide a way to support the Beirut community in the wake of the explosion. A programme of further in person pop up exhibitions, talks and events will take place following the initial exhibition, with more details to follow.

Annie Vartivarian, Director, AD Leb, said: “Gaļa always believed in Lebanon. She wanted it to be the base of her work and the starting point of her projects. She studied Product Design in Geneva and Milan before coming back to Lebanon and to manage a contemporary art gallery. In the meantime, she started working on launching her own design brand. The idea of AD Leb came to her mind as she wanted to combine her interests, art and design, in one project and create a digital space for the Lebanese cultural scene. Gaļa’s project and life were brutally interrupted, so I wanted to continue what she has started.”

Mariana Fodoulian, Director, Gaļa Fodoulian Foundation, said: “Gaļa loved animals greatly since she was a little child. Always surrounded by different pets, she was always compassionate towards them and spent her life actively supporting both animals in need and other rescuers. The foundation was a natural response to keep her work going and her passion alive.”

AD Leb is a digital platform and pop-up gallery dedicated to supporting and showcasing the work of Lebanese and international visual artists and designers. Operating as a gallery without walls, we stage exhibitions in alternative and unconventional spaces in Lebanon and further afield.

AD Leb is a cultural space that promotes dialogue and supports the creative community of the region. AD Leb’s innovative approach to exhibition-making aims to connect artists, designers, cultural practitioners, art enthusiasts, and collectors. Through a curated parallel program of talks, performances, and screenings, we hope to promote a culture of curiosity, creativity, and collaboration.

AD Leb is the pilot project of Gaļa Fodoulian, who was killed in the Beirut port explosion of 4 August 2020. Gaļa's mother, Annie Vartivarian, an art patron, and gallerist, is realizing this vision as a tribute to her daughter.

AD Leb is a not for profit gallery, all profits will go towards the Gaļa Fodoulian Foundation, an organization that supports and cares for animals in need and provides assistance for animal rescuers.

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