Rigor and emotion
by Marinette Werner
Eclectic and consistent. Those two words come to mind when you enter Artishow, a gallery-store and unusual space in the Lebanese arts landscape, was founded by Karim Begdache, Carole Mansour and Sara Badr, who wanted to “prove that contemporary Lebanese design exists.” The words come to mind again when you listen to Sara Badr, daughter of a Swedish mother and Lebanese father, who spent her childhood in France and Lebanon. From the start, her life has been characterized by the blending, exchanging and mingling of influences and by contrasts and complementarity. Badr has solid training in graphic design, including two years of pre-university training at ALBA (Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts) and three years of graphic arts coursework in Paris. Two years later, that training led her to establish ONE-OFF, a small graphic design firm, together with her partner, Hana Khalaf. The company offers name consulting and branding design services relying on strong visual identify. Their commitment to research is quite distinct from classic advertising approaches. Five years ago, the Artishow adventure took off. The goal of this boutique-concept is to showcase contemporary design and highlight the energy of its creators: to demonstrate, once and for all, that local and traditional crafts are not the only ways to work with objects. With that purpose in mind, the boutique has adopted a fluid, chameleon-like identity, changing its skin as its exhibits and artists change. Artists include Nathalie Khayat, Maroun Zahar and Mabel Serhal (Lebanon), Facteur Céleste and Agathe Saint-Girons (France) and Zuppa Inglese (England). Thanks to this array of Lebanese and international designers with varied backgrounds, perspectives and diverse experiences, the gallery offers a profusion of rich exhibits. But that profusion of talents required Badr’s clear and precise vision to give it form and expression. With her continuing attention to detail, a real sense of how to organize the space, and a deep and palpable affection for the place, she ensures that underlying consistency. With her Artishow partners, Begdache and Mansour, Badr has also created her own line, Artiline, which offers a range of design objects composed of place mats, ashtrays and vases. These simple, spot-on objects reflect an everyday existence that is both poetic and streamlined.
Finally, the source of Sara Badr’s strength may be found in the very coexistence of all those activities, the rigorous attention to detail required by her work as a graphic artist, the curiosity and desire to introduce us to other artists through Artishow and the very personal expression she has developed in her painting over the last few years.