My passion for art developed while I was living in London, the city of cultural dynamism. Having witnessed war in Lebanon between 1973 and 1984, I came to the United Kingdom as an economics student carrying vivid memories of war and violence infused with nostalgia.
It is precisely this nostalgia that motivated my initial interest in orientalist art. Realizing that orientalist art is rather a Western depiction of the East , my interest shifted towards Middle Eastern Contemporary and Modern Art. Incidentally the term Middle East carries colonialist connotations: Middle of where? East of what?
Gradually, my passion for art veered away with liberation from being focused on cultural heritage into a deep appreciation of art as a universal expression that transcends all boundaries. I attended History of Art courses to educate my curious mind and feed my growing appetite for knowledge of the major art movements in their historical context. Visiting the numerous exhibitions in London became a ritual of contemplation; infiltrating artists’ worlds while trying to interpret their narratives.
My soul-searching orbit still had at its center my homeland, its landscapes, its people and its language. The first painting I bought in 1986 was from Mathaf Gallery in London, a watercolor painting by an Italian 19th century artist titled ‘”Ruins Near Gaza”.
Over the next few years, I began growing a humble collection but it was not until I returned to Lebanon in 1999 that I became a serious collector of Contemporary and Modern Arab Art.