My experience at the Beirut Art Fair this year was different, first and different.
Art Lounge like any other gallery had its spot at the fair in addition to the Art Lounge’s VIP lounge - where some VIP card holders get to chill after a long walk around the fair- which was as well decorated with a few paintings.
One specific painting there caught my attention, Zena Al Khalil’s portrait of the well known figure, Hassan Nasrallah entitled: Super Star.
From my personal experience in Lebanon, this display won’t end up unnoticed.
As I was walking around the next day, I noticed that the painting was gone, and to no one’s surprise it was not bought! It was taken down.
Nino Kazzi from Art Lounge told Now Lebanon that some security guy approached them and asked them to take the painting off, as it was hanged in a place which serves alcohol and that is not acceptable.
I don’t mind the argument, to each their own beliefs after all. But what I do mind is what I was told by eye witnesses who were there when this happened: the security guy was not well mannered at all, he did not differentiate between the display, the pure display of an artistic painting and between his pure sectarian political views, which is not something surprising in Lebanon after all.
Few minutes later a verbal argument augmented and before we knew it the security guard was delivering threats. An artist present at the gallery told us that “a responsible figure from Hezbollah came into the fair and removed the painting.”
Which brought this question to mind: is Biel protected by security guards or thugs?