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Waddah Faris, Max Ernst taking belly dance lessons, The Fontana Cabaret, Beirut, 1969, gelatin silver print, 13 3/4 x 16 1/2".

Waddah Faris

Saleh Barakat gallery

Waddah Faris, Max Ernst taking belly dance lessons, The Fontana Cabaret, Beirut, 1969, gelatin silver print, 13 3/4 x 16 1/2".

In the fall of 1969, the German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen traveled to Lebanon to perform in the Jeita Grotto, a series of limestone caves that span an underground river some ten miles north of Beirut. Stockhausen’s entourage included the pop singer Françoise Hardy, the gallerist and socialite Brigitte Schehadé, and the Surrealists Max Ernst, Dorothea Tanning, and André Masson. When Schehadé introduced Ernst and his wife to a young local who was hanging around the Saint-George Hotel, they asked him if he could show them more of the country.

That young man was Waddah Faris, an Iraqi artist who was born in Aleppo, Syria, worked in Beirut as a graphic designer, and would later, in 1972, open Contact, a groundbreaking and irreverent gallery that captured the artistic energy and cross-disciplinary experimentation in the cultural life of the Lebanese capital in the years before it

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