Inauguration of the 12th edition of JABAL

A fresh impulse to the young artists in Lebanon: A tribute to comics & related arts

The inauguration of the 12th edition of JABAL, Jeunes Artistes des Beaux-Arts du Liban, organized by Fransabank, was held at Le Yacht Club Gallery, Zaitouna Bay, under the patronage and in the presence of the minister of Culture H.E. Mr. Raymond Araygi, and H.E Mr. Adnan Kassar, Chairman of Fransabank Group. A large number of guests attended the private viewing; including social figures, businessmen, art collectors, art gallery owners, as well as the organizing committee of JABAL, the artists, and the media.

Dedicated to the young artists of Fine Arts in Lebanon, JABAL 2016 turns to the “Arts Ludiques”. Its main aim is to elevate the works of strip cartoons, illustration, and animated films into the status of contemporary art.

Minister Araygi stated: “We must keep on supporting cultural and artistic development in Lebanon while enabling the active role of youth in the process who, in fact, represent hope and new possibilities. I invite everyone to visit this one of its kind exhibition, and I am sure that there will be a continuous support to culture in Lebanon.”

President Kassar confirmed “Since 1998, Fransabank has embarked on a noble mission of patronage in favour of artistic creation. This involvement towards raising awareness among the public has resulted in the creation of JABAL. For the first time, JABAL sheds light on the so-called “Arts Ludiques” through the organisation of an exhibition totally dedicated to this topic while being aware that this art has a great impact on our contemporary society.”

Prior to the inauguration, a press conference was held to present the highlights of JABAL 2016, followed by a round table moderated by curator, Marine Bougaran under the theme “The world is told through images» who stated: “The “Arts Ludiques” represents today a bridge between the public and contemporary art. Through a mixture of figurative movement and narrative current evoking the dream viewers will discover the dazzling artistic dimension behind these works. This art, also called « 9th Art », is already part of public institutions. Consequently, exhibitions are devoted thereto in the major museums around the world.”

The speakers at the round table included: Dania Kassar, head of marketing and corporate communication department at Fransabank, Laure d’Hauteville, artistic advisor, Serge Darpeix, artistic and technical director of the Rencontres du 9e Art d’Aix-en-Provence - France, Michèle Standjofski, Lebanese illustrator and comic artist, and Pascal Odille, Expert at the Chamber of Specialized Experts.

Serge Darpeix was invited for the first time to Lebanon by Fransabank to initiate and put in place the participation of Lebanese artists in the next edition of the Festival Rencontres du 9e Art d’Aix-en-Provence - France. Darpeix said “Strip cartoons has become today one of the richest means of expression, and the most innovative. It crosses all generations and has the ability to address all issues. We are witnesses here that JABAL exhibition is the first that shows the young scene of comics; which is already revealing maturity and modernity.”

Dania Kassar confirmed that: "The participation of Lebanese artists in the next edition of the festival rencontres du 9e Art d’Aix-en-Provence in France will allow them to present their work not only in their country but also abroad."

Michèle Standjofski pointed out: "Strip cartoons are a form of expression open to other forms of expression. The richness and diversity of all the works that we see in JABAL exhibition today is absolutely impressive."

JABAL presents for the first time a selection of 21 Lebanese artists: Zeina Abirached, Jorj Abou Mhaya, Chadi Aoun, Joan Baz, Tracy Chawan, Rosane Chawi, Ely Dagher, Ghadi Ghosn, Carla Habib, Hatem Imam, Joseph Kaï, Mazen Kerbaj, Karen Keyrouz, Omar Khouri, Raphaelle Macaron, Isabelle Manoukian, Lena Merhej, Barrack Rima, Collectif Samandal, Jad Sarout, and Patrick Sfeir.

This new generation of artists, whose creations revolve around illustrated novels or intimate animation, talk to us about their experiences, memories, and their daily life in Lebanon. A multitude of techniques, going from digital to monotype drawing, from the classical work with ink to the simple drawing on carbon paper or with lead pencil were used; a diversity which enriched these creations.

The opening JABAL also included a special performance by Video Jockey (VJ) César Kahwagi as well as book signings by Collective Samandal.