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Under the curation of Dr. Tony Karam and with the enthusiastic support of Christian el-Khoury, the director of the establishment, the lobbies of the luxurious Ritz Carlton DIFC in Dubai were transformed into an art gallery for the opening of the Art Gems exhibition. This event brought together the elite of the Emirati cultural world and the Lebanese diaspora. A refined selection of approximately 60 works, including paintings and sculptures, exhibits art by 17 renowned Lebanese artists.

The event kicked off in a festive atmosphere in the main lobby with the hotel director, Christian el-Khoury, introducing Dr. Karam, the initiator of this ambitious project. A man of culture and a piano virtuoso, his genuine passion for the arts and selfless commitment to the Lebanese artistic scene were highlighted in a moving video.

Select guests—collectors, directors of prestigious galleries such as Opera Gallery and Boccara Gallery, journalists—were then invited to explore the Art Gems exhibition at the Podium Level lobby, the establishment’s distinguished floor. In the central lobby of the Ritz-Carlton, the monumental and magnificent canvas by Zeina Nader, also selected for the exhibition, was prominently displayed, overlooking the works of about 15 artists carefully chosen under the enlightened direction of Dr. Tony Karam, the visionary instigator of this prestigious event.

Among the works exhibited at the Podium Level lobby were those of the doyen Jamil Molaeb alongside promising young talents such as Mathieu Makhlouf. Prominent names from the Lebanese art scene including Magali Katra, Wissam Melhem and Georges Rouhana were also present. The confirmed talent of Charles Khoury, Ihab Ahmad, Ghazi Baker, Raouf Rifai, Claude Saba, Zeina Nader and Ribal Molaeb completed this eclectic overview of impressionist and abstract figurative currents. The late masters Elie Kanaan and Jean Khalife, who recently passed but who are both highly esteemed artists, were represented through their canvases, perpetuating their legacy.

It’s hard not to mention the graphic compositions by the talented Anna Bondavalli Ward, the only photographer among this significant delegation of painters. And the sublime creations by sculptor Lina Husseini, which added feminine touches to this ensemble. To complete this journey through the vibrant universe of Lebanese creation, four giant screens continuously looped photographs and biographical notes from the exhibitors, visible from each end of the lobbies. This setup put a name and a face to all these artistic personalities, from confirmed stars to emerging hopes.

Christian Khoury officially opened the Art Gems exhibition by cutting a ribbon in the colors of Lebanon amid enthusiastic applause from the captivated audience. In his speech, brimming with enthusiasm, the director recounted the genesis of this ambitious project, accomplished in just a few months thanks to Dr. Karam, to whom he extended his deep gratitude for his visionary commitment. A vibrant tribute was paid with a wall entirely covered by the signatures of all the exhibiting artists, in front of which the guests eagerly immortalized this historic moment.

The event was unprecedented in many ways. Never before had such a concentration of Lebanese talent been assembled in such a prestigious venue, observed by visitors of this five-star establishment frequented by the Emirates’ artistic and economic elite. Accustomed to classic white walls, the artworks here radiated brilliantly under the gold decorations of the magnificent lobbies with their sparkling chandeliers.

It is noteworthy that the Ambassador of Lebanon to the UAE, Fouad Dandan, visited the exhibition, signaling the interest it generated within the expatriate community.

Judging by the keen interest shown from the very opening by a host of collectors and directors of prestigious galleries, there’s no doubt that this extraordinary Art Gems exhibition will mark a turning point for the Lebanese art scene. Nearly a quarter of the works had found buyers within the first few hours!

This enthusiasm is expected to continue with the anticipated arrival of major fortunes from the region, especially during the renowned Art Dubai Fair starting in March. The Art Gems exhibition is set to remain in place for the coming month, enjoying visibility unmatched by a traditional gallery.

Far from resting on this success, Dr. Karam, the tireless cultural ambassador, performed at the piano during a charity concert at the Abu Dhabi International School the day after the Art Gems opening. Organized under the high patronage of the great patron Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo, this prestigious event was dedicated to fundraising for the school. This was an opportunity for Dr. Karam to receive an honorary award from the hands of this key figure in the local art world, saluting his unwavering commitment.

Through these multiple initiatives, both selfless and unifying, Dr. Karam affirms himself as one of the most ardent promoters of the cultural scene in the Middle East.