An Independant Cultural Space in the Dahiyeh (Southern Suburbs of Beirut)

Situated on the premises of UMAM Documentation and Research, THE HANGAR today represents the only institutionally independent cultural space in Dahiyeh. As such, it has served continually as the organization's permanent meeting place where people from the surrounding neighborhood, artists and culture practitioners, members of diverse organizations and audiences from throughout Lebanon and the region can gather to exchange ideas, perspectives and viewpoints.

As an independent platform, THE HANGAR facilitates debate and exchange through artistic and other experimental methods. These approaches and events include but certainly are not limited to roundtables and structured conferences, film screenings, exhibitions and installations. Among many other functions, this platform stimulates individual and collective reflection on Lebanon’s past and memory by promoting artistic, cultural and academic practices associated with the use of archives.

THE HANGAR recently initiated a residency program, where contributors to the ongoing debate on the use of documents in contemporary art and cultural studies challenge participating local, regional and international artists, including scholars and curators, to seek answers to several pervasive and imperative considerations. These include, how research can affect the creative process and vice versa, the role artistic contribution plays in collective reflection on the past and how visual art can invent new frames for archival displays. In producing their work, residents consult UMAM’s collection, which includes its significant archives. Once complete, these projects are placed on public display in THE HANGAR.

The History of THE HANGAR

Located in the popular southern suburbs of Beirut, THE HANGAR was built in the mid-1950s on property number 155 in Haret Hreik. Originally, the Abela family used the space to house part of its business. At the end of the 1960s, the family decided to move its business closer to Beirut International Airport. Beginning in the early 1970s, THE HANGAR was used by a company that purchased eggs wholesale and resold them to local merchants and small shops. With the onset of the civil war in 1975, the company closed and a small printing press replaced it only to quickly collapse, marking the end of the THE HANGAR's first historical chapter. The building remained deserted until early 2004 when UMAM D&R, situated in one of Dahiyeh’s last remaining villas, became its guardian, investing in renovations in order to transform THE HANGAR into a vibrant artistic and cultural platform. THE HANGAR's project is an effort to resuscitate the tranquil, pluralistic spirit that once motivated its neighborhood, without ignoring the real transformations that have occurred in Dahiyeh overtime.