On one side of the chaotic street of Gemmayze is a row of traditional mansions. Beneath one of them is a series of vaulted spaces that once served as the coach house to the adjoining palace. Behind the palace, up a narrow alley and some stone steps, is an oasis of gardens, arcaded architecture and gurgling fountains. In the shade of loquat and fig trees nestles a stone cottage, formerly part of a convent precinct then converted into the hammam of the palace. It is there that the project 392RMEIL393 was born and from where it operates. This is the brainchild of architect and local resident Alfred Sursock Cochrane, helped by arts and crafts promoter Nayla Bassili, the gallery is managed by George ElHamawy.
The project’s aim is to provide a stage, a forum, a voice and a context to emerging creative talent that has not yet been roped into the traditional commercial or trendily intellectual gallery scene. The spaces will also be used by international creators whose brief will be to collaborate with their local counterparts, inspire them as well as be inspired by the electric energy of our city. We are a non profit organization that hopes, by virtue of its accessible and beguiling spaces, to attract a new young audience to the delights of creativity not yet contaminated by a price tag or flavor of the month status amongst those who throng opening nights not to admire what is on show but to be seen themselves in the perceived correct environment.
Scope of the Project
To provide a space, easily accessible to all, where can be exhibited various aspects of visual creativity. – The exhibitions will be on a rotating monthly basis – The exhibitors will be chosen from the various disciplines related to Art, Craft, Design, Architecture, Fashion, Photography, Film ,Theatre, or any other activity that requires visual appeal. – The exhibitors will, for the most part, be young, Lebanese, emerging and not yet commercial or with no contracts with commercial galleries. However, some commercial exhibitors may be asked to produce a body of work exclusive to the project. Foreign exhibitors whose work is relevant to the ethos of the project may be invited to exhibit selected works. Time and space will also be provided to promote the work of children and the disadvantaged.