Myrna Ayad’s Alcove: Reminiscing Forgotten Arab Artists

Business View
4 Min Read
Myrna Ayad's Alcove: Reminiscing Forgotten Arab Artists

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.” This is a well-said quote that emphasizes the importance of reading books. The world of books is the best as it has different genres and categories. One can read and develop an interest of their liking, and if you are a fan of reading those books which comply with culture, lives, tradition and all other aspects of a country or state then this news is for you. Myrna Ayad, a renowned Lebanese author and art expert recently launched her latest book Alcove which has garnered the attention of readers. 

This book is particularly for those who are keen to learn about the Arab world and artists whose works are surely between us but we have forgotten their names. The latest writing of Myrna Ayad consists of 30 essays that will help you learn about the lives of celebrated and forgotten modern artists from the Arab world. This book explores the lives of modern Arab artists who have made huge contributions to the Arab World. Alcove is a collection of essays that revive and cherish the memories of forgotten modern artists in today’s world. 

Ayad prepared these essays with the help of intimate interviews which she has taken from the artists’ students, close friends, and relatives. During an exclusive interview with Arab News, a Lebanese author said, “I was not after describing their work. My aim was to focus on the person- what moved them, what affected them, how they lived, how they survived and why they were preserved.” She added those artists who hailed from the Gulf, North Africa, and the Levant. 

The book talks about those who hailed from the Gulf, North Africa, and the Levant and worked between the 1950s and 1980s. This was the time when the MENA art scene was far smaller than it is today. Ayad said, “Despite geography, they all knew each other and were friends. They exhibited alongside each other and deliberated together. In those days, there were key cultural capitals like Beirut, Cairo, and Baghdad, so they would all gather there. They were like-minded people.” 

Ayad further included that what also united these artists was a sense of struggle- be it personal, political or professional. “It was not easy at all being an artist in those days.” All these artists were documenters of that period as they beautifully decorated and featured contemporary historical and political events. Ayad said, “They addressed topics full-one. They had enough liberty and confidence to do that, which is why you find a lot of answers in modern Arab art.” 

Who Is Myrna Ayad?

Myrna Ayad is a renowned Lebanese author and Dubai-based cultural strategist. She was born in Beirut. In 1982, she moved to the United Arab Emirates and is currently living in Dubai. Her work mostly focuses on visual art and culture from the Arab world, Turkey and Iran. Apart from writing, she also runs a consultancy firm by her name which she established in 2018. The consultancy firm specialises in cultural strategy and art advisory. Her latest work includes “Alcove”, the name derived from the Arabic word “al-qubba”. The meaning of this name is a chamber or vault. 

The interviews she compiled in her essays for the book unlock a vault of memories that she got from her interviewees. She reminisces, “All of the conversations were emotional. I was on Zoom Calls watching grown men cry.”

Share This Article