The growth of the internet has opened up a world of opportunity for entrepreneurial digital art companies. Online art portals and auctions are one of the fastest areas of growth, and one young company exploring this is Beirut-based Artscoops.
Founded in September 2014 by mother and daughter team May and Raya Mamarbachi, Artscoops describes itself as “a curated platform for MENA art.” It was given a leg up with an accelerator programme the UK-Lebanon Tech Hub (UKLTH), a joint initiative by Banque du Liban (Lebanon’s Central Bank) and the UK Government that helps support Lebanese tech start-ups. Although primarily an online portal for art galleries to display their work, on Saturday, 11 March, Artscoops will hold its second live auction of Middle East Modern and Contemporary Auction at Le Yacht Club Gallery, Zaituna Bay, Beirut.
Fateh Moudarres. Untitled. 1965. Oil on canvas. 75 x 60 cm. Image courtesy of Artscoops
The sale will be taken by British auctioneer Edward Rising, and has been put together by Janet Rady and May Mamarbachi. It features 83 lots of both Modern 20th century and contemporary 21st century artists, including the late artists Ismail Fattah (Iraqi), Paul Guiragossian (Lebanese) and Maliheh Afnan (Palestinian), as well as the well-known Iraqi painter Souad Al Attar and Lebanese painter Tagreed Darghouth. Alongside these well-known names are young emerging artists like the London-based ceramic artist Shahida Ahmed, Nasser Al Aswadi, born in Yemen, and Balsam Abou Zour of Lebanon.
“Building on last year’s success and in response to demand, we have sharpened our focus on mid-range contemporary artworks, while ensuring the high-end segment is once again strongly represented,” said Raya Mamarbachi. “In a year when newly-released data points to a mood of cautious optimism across the international art market, we’re thrilled to be providing another platform for a truly diverse and eclectic line-up of regional talent.”
An additional two works will be sold for charity. The works in the auction will be on view from 9 March at until bidding commences on 11 March Le Yacht Club Gallery, Zaituna Bay, Beirut. The catalogue can be viewed online at artscoops.com/liveauctionsmiddleeastcontemporary