The debut of the MENASA Art Fair in Beirut, Lebanon recently showcased art work from the region and highlighted an international interest in the subject given the popular uprisings in the Arab world. Since the Arab Spring, galleries in Europe have been curating artists from the Arab world which reflects the growing interest and demand for art from the region.
''For the first time, the Arab artists can really express themselves and we have chosen to do Menasa Art in Beirut because Lebanon is the centre of all this big territory and what's happening in Arab artists is fabulous, you can see the auction of Christies, everybody is now looking for Arab artists and they thinking: my God, it is a new market, it is something new, the artist can express themselves in a very strong way.''
Saudi Arabia was the guest country at the event, co-curated by Lulua Al Humoud and the spotlight was on the work of numerous female Saudi artists
''As you know, it is politics that attracts people, and with regards to Saudi Arabia people always have this idea , the wrong generic idea that is in the Western media that there is nothing but oppressed women and a frustrating policy against humans. But we do have a lot of things that people should see because our role as artists is to also educate and not just display. So about this fair, we linked visual art with language which is an art type that has been around for thousands of years in the Arabian peninsula.''
There has been an increased curiosity of Arab art work, including from Egyptian and Tunisian who had success in overthrowing the leaders.
Moreover, European galleries have increasingly curating works of Arab artists as demand for their pieces grows.
Lulua Al Humoud - Saudi artist and curator
Laure D'Hauteville - MENASA Art Fair Manager
Joanna De Boer