An ultra-creative mix of talents from Asia not only displayed their work at a major Middle Eastern art fair but hit the streets and shops of Beirut. Liu Dao added a distinctively contemporary artistic touch to this concrete jungle, complete with lasers and dynamic playfulness.
This video tracks their artistic journey in Beirut:
So who are Liu Dao anyway? “ Liu Dao 六岛 (or Liù dǎo, a Pinyin phrase meaning 'island number 6') is a Shanghai-based art collective of tech-geeks and creative talents driven by innovation and interaction […]The island6 art collective (Liu Dao 六岛) has appeared in acclaimed art fairs around the world, including Art Paris, the Hong Kong Art Fair, SHContemporary, Scope New York and Basel, Art Asia Miami, Los Angeles Art Show and Art Stage Singapore.”
The collective's work, and this project in particular, shows that art really has the power to transcend borders and to open creative dialogues between cities and talents from different disciplines. But this artistic tale doesn't end here.
The art collective, island6, share their experience with StepFeed:
What did you find most inspiring about Beirut?
"The collective was enthralled by the heterogeneity of the storied city. The sheer diversity of Beirut’s cultural heritage has produced a metropolis bursting with a variety of architecture, cuisine, peoples, languages and traditions. This plurality of culture and identity is unique, and is pertinent to our own collective, which is comprised of talents from around the globe. We were also struck by the incredible vigor of Beirut. Walking through the streets gave us the sense of an undercurrent of energy that runs through the city. We had the impression that Beirut is currently undergoing a major transformation – they are rebuilding the city from the ground up, but have not forgotten their diverse history."
How does the art scene in Beirut compare to the scene in China and/or Thailand?
Like China, Lebanon has gone through a series of changes in its long history. The two countries both have relatively young contemporary art scenes that have made astounding leaps forward in recent years. Lebanon doesn’t have the same quantity of art fairs that China does, but the Beirut Art Fair has quickly become one of the world’s most influential art fairs in its first five years. There seems to be great support for art in Beirut. In addition to the fair, island6 also participated in Beirut Art Week, an event that took art outside of the white walls of a gallery or fair booth and into the streets and shops of downtown. Ultimately, we can’t compare the art scene of one locale to another. Every city is unique, with its own strengths and weaknesses, distinctive culture, and history, so each has their own methods.
Has your experience in Beirut had an impact on your work? Or has it given rise to future plans to do more work in this city?
"The team relished our time in Beirut. All senses fired at full capacity with every step. We shot a tremendous amount of film all around the city, and those images will no doubt find their way into the work of the collective. We created one work immediately after we got back – “ A Slight, a Shift,” which features shisha in a nod to Beirut’s status as a gateway to the Middle East. Witnessing the multicultural dynamism of Beirut has further inspired the collective to continue to push the boundaries of what you can combine between the frame of an artwork. We aren't interested in the ordinary, and Beirut reaffirmed our belief that this is a worthwhile pursuit."