The Brazilian Embassy in Beirut, in collaboration with the Instituto Guimarães Rosa – Beirut, announced the launch of an art competition, themed “The Tripoli Fair: The Way I See It.” This initiative comes following the recent recognition of the Rachid Karami International Fair in Tripoli by Unesco as both a World Heritage site and a World Heritage in Danger.

Renowned Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer, known for his iconic structures in Brazil’s capital Brasília and other international landmarks, designed the Tripoli Fair. This recognition by Unesco marks Niemeyer’s first project outside Brazil to be given World Heritage status.

The Fair spans a 70-hectare site nestled between Tripoli’s historic center and the Al-Mina port. The primary edifice showcases a magnificent boomerang-shaped covered hall, offering a flexible space for international exhibitions. Launched in the 1960s, the Fair stands testament to Lebanon’s ambition to modernize. According to UNESCO, the synergy between Niemeyer and Lebanese engineers epitomizes a pivotal intercontinental architectural exchange, making the Fair a prominent representation of 20th-century modern architecture in the Arab Near East.

Unfortunately, the scars of the Lebanese civil war mar the Fair, leading to significant degradation. Much of the Fair remains unused today, resulting in it being viewed as a “white elephant” by many local residents.

The art competition aims to accentuate the rich history and architectural brilliance of the Tripoli Fair, emphasizing the essential role it plays in Lebanese culture, both past and future. The contest also endeavors to heighten awareness regarding Niemeyer’s contributions and the broader scope of modernist architecture in Lebanon. The winners will be awarded three individual prizes of USD 1,000 each.

Participants, limited to Lebanese citizens living locally or abroad and non-Lebanese individuals residing in Lebanon, aged between 18 to 35, can register online until October 29, 2023. Further details, including registration and guidelines, are available in English at https://www.gov.br/mre/pt-br/embaixadabeirute/public-notice-4-2023-tripoli-fair-the-way-i-see-it-art-prize-rules-03-10-23.pdf.

The jury, comprised of esteemed individuals from the art, architecture, and photography sectors, includes Dr. Elsa Ghossoub, Dr. Farès Dahdah, Mr. Firas El Hallak, Ms. Joyce Jouma, Ms. Karina El Helou, and Dr. Wassim Naghi. Entries will be assessed based on creativity, technical prowess and thematic relevance.

This competition follows another cultural project initiated by the Brazilian Embassy earlier this year. In June, the official residence of the Brazilian Ambassador, a design masterpiece by Brazilian Modernist architect Olavo Redig de Campos, opened its doors for guided architectural tours to a select group of students and professionals.