If you happen to stumble upon it, it’s a gem to find… Beit Waraq is located in a small residential neighborhood of Mazraa, Beirut, and it is really a superb endeavor that the whole Lebanese art community should take part in.
On Sunday, September 4, 2016, Beit Waraq held its housewarming and opening. Honestly, we had to Google map the living daylights out of it to find it, but once we did find it, it was well worth it.
Two posters advertising the housewarming event greeted us on the outer post of the building’s entrance… and that was all that indicated we were in the right place.
Inside, we were greeted by very friendly David Habchy, one of the main pillars of the NGO Waraq. He gave us a passionate tour of the place with an in-depth explanation of what the whole project is about. It is quite obvious that he believes in this place and everything it has to offer to the art scene.
As David explained, Beit Waraq is a space for artists to collaborate, work, exhibit, and have fun. It is a project by the NGO Waraq which focuses its work on arts and culture in the country and region. Beit Waraq offers studio space, tools, supplies, and expertise for those who lack it or just wish to work in a vibrant, artistic atmosphere.
The four main rooms are The Paper Room, which is equipped with materials needed for all paper-related work, The Animation Room, which is fitted with puppet-making and animation tools, The Silkscreen Room, which is set up for printing on paper and textile, and last but not least, The Coworking Room, which is the main hub focused on collaboration between artists and is equipped with two desks.
Beit Waraq is run by the NGO Waraq and therefore uses the fees only for the establishments sustainability, in order to keep offering the best to artists.
During the tour, we walked in to a room with an illustration exhibition held by an 8 year old named Sarah who lives in the same building – she has watched almost all the workshops Waraq held in the past and so she was very sure of herself. She was very friendly and explained her drawings, and she even offered for us to pick whichever picture we liked of hers to take home after the exhibition was over. Two little boys joined her and helped her out during her presentation, and it was inspiring, how proud and confident they were.
Another noteworthy exhibition at the Beit Waraq Housewarming event was Ahmad Hammoud’s display on designs and iconography in Egypt. Ahmad is behind the online platform Samak Laban which aims to document, study, and talk about Cairo’s design and visual culture. Ahmad showed us what has been trending in Cairo, in terms of visuals, which varied between Disney characters and pictures of store owners’ children, displayed as branding and visual identity. The current trend also includes graffiti announcing teaching and tutoring.
After the tour concluded, we ended the visit with a drink in the garden, “cafeteria al abtal”.
Beit Waraq is a fusion of exhibition space, workshops, studio rental, meeting with like-minded people, and a lot of fun! Call ahead to rent working space for the day or for a week, up to a month.
For more details and to book: 01 659 848 or email@example.com