How would you describe Beirut Art Scene?
Very vibrant and dynamic
How important is artistic value to Middle East buyers?
Like in all countries, you have knowledgeable collectors, focused and well read, who buy with their eyes and others, more fashion victims, who buy with their ears.
As a gallery owner what do you look for among Arabic artists?
I look for quality, originality, and authentic creative expressions. I believe great art have to transcend time and place.
Do you keep seeing the exile theme in the works? Is this a good thing?
Exile is a subject of concern particularly to some artists of the diaspora, much more than the artists based in Beirut, Damascus, or Cairo.
What’s the best way to experience contemporary art in Beirut?
The best way to experience the contemporary art scene in Beirut is simply to come to Beirut and meet the makers and shakers of its vibrancy.
How do you personally set standards for commercial value for the artists that you represent?
Price is subject to supply and demand, in addition to a flair that one acquires over years of continuous experience.
Are there many women artists in Beirut right now? What’s the perception about women making works?
There are many women artists active in Beirut. They are highly established and sought after. At Agial, women artists represent around 50% of our stable. Saloua Raouda Choucair. (B. 1916) is the first Lebanese artist to have a show at the Tate Modern in April 2013. With her, the question of gender in Lebanese art has been long put behind.
Beirut Art Fair Takes Place in Lebanon From 5-8 July.