Cultural and aesthetic institutions also blown to smithereens by Lebanon’s blast

Art institutions in Beirut are rallying around to help protect remaining collections and offer storage as massive explosions took the lives of natives.

The deadly explosion caused by fire broke at a storage facility in the vicinity of Beirut port which claimed the lives of more than hundred people has not spared the cultural life as well as it ravaged the large parts of the city, including many of Beirut’s galleries, museums, and art centers. Gallery director Gaia Foudolian and prominent architect Jean-Marc Bonfils both died in the blast.

Many of the city’s prominent art venues were wrecked in the blast. Marfa’ Gallery and Galerie Tanit, both located close to Beirut’s Port, were the hardest hit. Sfeir Semler Gallery, a gallery in the Karantina district north of the port, was also damaged. The gallery, a staple in Beirut’s art scene, represents world-renowned Lebanese artists like Etel Adnan, Walid Raad, and Akram Zaatari. Blast also struck other renowned cultural institutes such as Arab Image Foundation, and the Beirut Art Center to count a few.

In the wake of this inconceivable damage, art institutions in Beirut are helping each other to protect their collections. The Arab Image Foundation, which suffered significant damage, relocated its servers to safe storage at the Sursock Museum on Zeina Arida’s invitation who is the director of Sursock Museum.

The damage is being estimated in the millions of dollars, restoration efforts are to be hampered by pandemic and the current economic crisis in the country but the cultural community is resilient and determined to reinstate the order of things as they were before.

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