UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

09/18/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/18/2020 07:35

Lebanese artists express hope for the future during UNESCO ResiliArt debate

On 10 September 2020, UNESCO, in the framework of its #LiBeirut initiative, organized the ResiliArt Lebanon: Defending cultural diversity through creativity online debate to discuss the current situation of the creative sector in Beirut following the deadly explosions that shook the Lebanese capital on 4 August last. The debate was moderated by Ernesto Ottone R, UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Culture and featured seven prominent artists and culture professionals from Lebanon and the Lebanese diaspora: Ziad Doueri (filmmaker), Omar Abiazar (director of the Zoukak theatre collective), Karen Chekerdjian (designer), Nadine Touma (editor), Nadine Labaki (film director), Khaled Mouzanar (musician, composer) and Maya de Freige (President of the Fondation Liban Cinema).

The participants discussed the many challenges artists in Lebanon currently face and reflected on the way forward and the support needed, also in light on the current COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis. In the words of Karen Chekerdjian, 'we cannot let this tragedy take away the dreams of the creators, the work of a lifetime. The studios, houses and cultural spaces must be rebuilt.'

Nadine Labaki stressed the need to support cultural professionals by providing them with necessary social and economic support. Nadine Touma encouraged the decision makers to listen to artists and cultural actors across Lebanon, as they form an essential part of the country's rich cultural mosaic that enriches society and also contributes to jobs and the economy. The panelists stressed the social aspects of arts and culture and expressed the need to organize music concerts or other cultural activities in public open air spaces, while waiting for the rehabilitation of cultural venues and the end of the health crisis.

UNESCO launched # Li Beirut initiative, to mobilize support for the reconstruction and recovery of the Lebanese capital. UNESCO rallies various culture actors to continue reflecting on how to build back better Lebanon's cultural heritage and creative sector through the three-part series of ResiliArt Lebanon debates. The second debate on 17 September will focus on the role of museums and art galleries for the future of cultural life in Beirut and beyond, while the third debate on 24 September will invite built-heritage professionals to survey the damages of the explosions on historical structures as well as their future reconstruction.

The 10 September debate Defending cultural diversity through creativity can be followed here