Located in the heart of Beirut, Dar El-Nimer for Arts and Culture was founded in 2016 as an independent non-profit art foundation for historical, modern and contemporary cultural productions from Palestine and beyond. Dar El-Nimer promotes deep cultural, historical and intellectual awareness by hosting productions by artists, curators, writers, historians, performers and filmmakers, whose works engage with the challenging social realities and political currents shaping the region. Dar El-Nimer is also responsible for showcasing the El-Nimer Collection, the private art collection of the founder, Rami El-Nimer.
Celebrating the region’s rich and complex cultural heritage to trace its continuity, creativity and perseverance. Dar El-Nimer challenges stereotypes through arts and culture, opening up the possibilities for deeper understanding.
Broadening the palette of cultural and artistic experiences. Dar El-Nimer offers a vibrant space for interaction. Alongside its annual exhibitions, its space is open for lectures, panel discussions, film screenings, musical and theatrical performances and workshops.
Inviting schools, universities, institutions, communities and individuals to develop an understanding of arts and culture through activities and dialogue. Dar El-Nimer engages in multidisciplinary collaborations and innovative ways of bridging society with artistic and cultural production.
THE EL-NIMER COLLECTION
The El-Nimer Collection has been over forty years in the making. It is a continuously growing collection of items selected for both aesthetical and historical value. The collection sheds light on the rich and complex evolution of the socio-political history of the region through its artistic and cultural productions. It includes pieces spanning around ten centuries of civilisation and hailing from the vast lands that have carried, or interacted with the legacy of Islamic culture.
The collection is primarily built on the taste of the collector and on choosing works in ways to form meaningful groupings in the collection. The goal is to separate out specific works of art and assemble them in such a way, to advance the public’s understanding of art in particular and its evolution.
The collection’s highlights include manuscripts, numismatics, ceramics, glass, arms and armour, textiles, photographs, postcards, maps, icons, mother-of-pearl, Orientalist, modern and contemporary paintings.
Dar El-Nimer for Arts and Culture presents thematic exhibitions curated from the private collection of the founder. The collection is displayed publicly through these exhibitions which are accompanied by an exhibition catalogue. Midad: The Public and Intimate Lives of Arabic Calligraphy, curated by Rachel Dedman, was the first exhibition from the El-Nimer Collection in 2017.
Works from the El-Nimer Collection are available for loans to local and international institutions.
THE FOUNDER AND COLLECTOR
Born in Nablus, Palestine, Rami El-Nimer’s passion for collecting art began at a very young age. His collection embraces a multi-faceted identity, rooted in Palestine, harking back to a time when borders were open and the cultural exchange of art and ideas was unimpeded. His collection has grown to become a commemoration of resilience against a modern erasure of memory and the distortion of identity.
Focused not only on growing his collection but on sharing it with the public, Rami El-Nimer founded Dar El-Nimer for Arts and Culture as a result of his passion for the arts and to encourage a constructive discussion around the collection’s items and to re-imagine a more inclusive and coherent cultural narrative for the region.
In 2009, he initiated a corporate art collection for First National Bank (FNB) in Beirut. He also sits on the board of several cultural institutions.
Three kinds of exhibitions take place at Dar El-Nimer: exhibitions curated from the El-Nimer Collection, commissioned exhibitions in support of artists in different fields of art and hosted exhibitions from the region and abroad. All exhibitions are accompanied by guided tours and a tailored public program rotating around the exhibited themes.
Past highlighted exhibitions include At the Seams, the first satellite exhibition of the Palestinian Museum which also marked the opening of Dar El-Nimer; Sci-Fi Trilogy, Larissa Sansour’s first solo exhibition in Beirut; Holy Rail, in collaboration with the American University of Beirut; Josef Koudelka: The Wall/Beirut, in association with Magnum Photos; Thief of Baghdad from the private collection of Abboudi Abou Jaoudé and Challenges of Identity, an exhibition and seminar in collaboration with the Institute of Palestine Studies.
Dar El-Nimer offers a wide range of spaces for cultural performances to include auctions, storytelling, film screenings, panel discussions, workshops for all ages, book signings etc.
Past workshops and events include Keyword Palestine, a benefit auction for the Institute for Palestine Studies, an Arabic lettering workshop with Studio Kawakeb, musical encounters with IRAB, Liban Jazz and Ma3azef, a typography design course with Reza Abedini, a street organ workshop with Saudaá Group, film screenings with Nadi lekol Nas, the Royal Film Commission – Jordan, Metropolis, Beirut Art Film Festival and more. Parallel children and adults’ workshops are also scheduled throughout the year.
Dar El-Nimer for Arts and Culture is located in the once-called Villa Salem, a charming building of the 1930s, built by the French architect, archaeologist and antique expert, Lucien Cavro (1905-1978) who worked in Lebanon and Syria during the French Mandate. It is one of the first buildings in Beirut to use Le Corbusier’s ‘domino effect’, lending itself perfectly to renovation.
With the opening of Dar El-Nimer for Arts and Culture, the building is preserved and revived to enter the public domain as an accessible, user-friendly and interactive public space.
Dar El-Nimer aims to create collaborations within the borders of the Arab World and beyond by promoting the cultural and artistic legacy of the region, and extending bridges between different communities.