December 2, 2018 - Ashkal Alwan - Celebrating 25 years
December 2, 2018

Ashkal Alwan

Bassam Kahwaji, site-specific installation, Sanayeh Garden Project, 1995. Photo: Gilbert Hage.

Celebrating 25 years

Ashkal Alwan
Street 90, Jisr el Wati
1st Floor, Building 110
Facebook / Instagram

Ashkal Alwan - The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts, is pleased to announce an array of new platforms and programs over the next couple of months, marking 25 years since the organization’s inception. Embedded in Lebanon and the wider region, Ashkal Alwan has been committed to facilitating artistic production, fostering critical thinking around contemporary discourses and realities, and engaging in community mobilization. Ashkal Alwan began in 1993 as an informal network of artists, writers, educators, activists, and cultural practitioners in Beirut who sought to reclaim their city by way of communal intellectual endeavors and artistic interventions in public spaces.

In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Ashkal Alwan will be hosting an exhibition, followed by a benefit auction, featuring 39 artists who have been an integral part of the organization’s history, ranging from past and recent collaborators to recent alumni of its annual study program: Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Etel Adnan, Haig Aivazian, Monira Al Qadiri, Tamara Al-Samerraei, Mounira Al Solh, Doa Aly, Ahmed Badry, Tony Chakar, Ali Cherri, Mandy El-Sayegh, İnci Eviner, Daniele Genadry, Ahmad Ghossein, Saba Innab, Iman Issa, Lamia Joreige, Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Samir Khaddaje, Mahmoud Khaled, Maha Maamoun, Rabih Mroué, Oscar Murillo, Joe Namy, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Walid Raad, Khalil Rabah, Raqs Media Collective, Marwan Rechmaoui, Stéphanie Saadé, Walid Sadek, Roy Samaha, Setareh Shahbazi, Rania Stephan, Rayyane Tabet, Raed Yassin, Ala Younis, and Akram Zaatari. The works have been generously donated by the artists, in support of Ashkal Alwan’s first benefit auction, aiming to raise resources for the continuation of its programs in the coming years, keeping them  accessible and free of charge. The exhibition opens to the public on December 14, 2018 at 6pm, and will be on view through December 18, 2018.  

In addition, Ashkal Alwan launched aashra, an open-access video streaming platform offering viewers audiovisual works that are either out of circulation or rarely screened outside of biennial and festival circuits. The platform will make available a rotating selection of ten films and videos produced by Ashkal Alwan, as well as works chosen specifically for their artistic, historical, and political relevance. The films and videos currently available for streaming are by artists and filmmakers Maher Abi Samra, Mounira Al Solh, Marwa Arsanios, Ali Cherri, Roy Dib, Nesrine Khodr, Lina Majdalanie, Raed & Rania Rafei, Roy Samaha, and Akram Zaatari.

Ashkal Alwan will soon make available an online open-access platform that will host the association’s extensive archive, giving the public access to Terabytes of digital recordings. This archival material will be activated through a series of public programs and activities, while artists, researchers, and curators will be invited to engage with Ashkal Alwan’s collection through their own practice.

Throughout the years, Ashkal Alwan has consistently striven to reinvent itself and expand its vision and objectives in response to shifting conditions. Today, the organization is housed in a rehabilitated factory floor, and its programs include: Home Works Forum, a multidisciplinary forum on cultural practices taking place every three years; Home Workspace Program, a tuition-free annual study program open to emerging artists and other cultural  practitioners to develop their formal, technical and theoretical skills; Video Works, an annual grant program providing a sustainable support structure for video production by early and mid-career artists and filmmakers based in Lebanon; the publication of literary works and artists’ books; a public library with a unique collection of books, catalogs, periodicals, as well as audio-visual material focused on contemporary artistic, cultural, and textual practices in Lebanon and beyond; and Art at the Pink Factory, a drawing and painting school launched in September 2018 to promote early artistic expression among youths through art education.

Ashkal Alwan
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