Programs

The Traveling Art project

“Traveling Art” is an outreach program focusing on art initiation addressed to schools.

It will also be catered by Fondation Saradar Mobile School. This caravan will serve as an exhibition facility to display Lebanese artists’ works highlighted by the program, as well as works created by students. The caravan will target private and public schools, other educational institutions.

 The mobile art learning concept provides:

  • Beneficiaries with a first of its kind opportunity to be introduced and educated to various art forms.
  • School teachers with a unique art tutoring experience, hands-on learning and communicating practice to follow up on Fondation Saradar program delivered within the caravan; hence, ensuring the sustainability of this initiative.
  • Academic performance, should institutions be interested in integrating this art learning program as part of their school curriculum.
  • Exposure to Artists through various means of information gathered and media tools supplied by the Saradar Collection.

OBJECTIVES

The project aims at initiating young audiences to Lebanese art heritage. It seeks to disseminate knowledge for the understanding and appreciation of Lebanese art through an awareness and educational program.

And clearly, its purpose is to promote art as an important tool in contributing to personal well-being and development, wider cultural exposure and knowledge, leading to social integration as well as economic growth.

CALENDAR

The project will follow the schools’ academic year. A pilot phase started on October 22nd, 2018, concluding several months of preparation and organization required to properly implement the program.

LOCATIONS

The project will first target schools in Greater Beirut and the cazas of Metn and Kesrewane during the pilot phase.Jesus & Mary School is the first academic institution to benefit from this initiation program. More schools are already registered to participate in this unusual art program.

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Arab Image Foundation Symposium

HISTORY OF THE LAST THINGS BEFORE THE LAST: ART AS WRITING HISTORY
DECEMBER 1ST, 2012.

Organized by: Clément Chéroux and Akram Zaatari
A collaboration between: Centre Pompidou, Paris / Arab Image Foundation, Beirut
In partnership with the Institut Français and Fondation Saradar

Proposed by Clement Cheroux and Akram Zaatari, the symposium was centered around the idea of writing history through art, focusing specifically on the contemporary art scene in Lebanon. It brought together historians and artists.

This symposium aimed to put together artists, historians and intellectuals, Lebanese, French and others to raise and discuss continuing artists’ investment in the writing of history. It offered a platform to artists and historians to give a theoretical framework to what have been addressed with great plasticity.

The questions raised in this symposium will extend into a publication that is planned to come out at a later stage.

(Courtesy of Arab Image Foundation)

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White Wall, Graffiti & Street Art

WHITE WALL, organized at Beirut Art Center in association with Fondation Saradar and a team of three curators, was an exhibition in which one of the main objectives is to give new impetus to the Lebanese graffiti scene.

Fourteen international artists, from Europe, North America, South America, together with artists from Egypt and Tunisia, with diverse visions and street art practices, were invited to share their passion and expertise. Beirut Art Center hosted an exhibition, while the show was spread over the streets of Beirut, creating a dynamic interaction between the exhibition’s venue and the city. Nineteen Lebanon-based artists – the figureheads of the Lebanese street art and graffiti scene – participated in the various WHITE WALL activities and outdoor interventions throughout Beirut.

Since the Civil War, public space in Lebanon had been occupied by inscriptions and stencils related to war and sectarian politics. Western-style graffiti appeared infrequently as of the mid-1990s. It was not until 2005 that a new scene emerged, taking on the task to create a uniquely Lebanese style of this art form. This scene is now burgeoning and the streets of Beirut have witnessed the birth of new artists mixing caustic stencils, western influences and Arabic graffiti. These interventions contrasted with public expectations, since they promoted unity over division and maintained a humorous and often critical look at Lebanese society.

One of the key issues raised by this event is to understand how it is possible to bring an inherently outdoor and accessible art to an indoor space like Beirut Art Center, without betraying the idiosyncrasy of this art. While the first graffiti exhibition was already held in 1976 in New York City, this remains a challenge until today. The title, WHITE WALL, confronted the white walls of the galleries with the streets of the city, a challenging prospect for a street artist.

A roundtable at Beirut Art Center organized by Fondation Saradar focused on the phenomenon of Lebanese graffiti and its evolution from a message of war to a contemporary artistic expression. At the same time, items related to street art were on display at Beirut Art Center. Visitors were able to find a selection of books as well as graffiti-styled bags by « Sarah’s Bag », designed in collaboration with the artists.

WHITE WALL aimed to create a vibrant interaction between graffiti, the city of Beirut and the Beirut Art Center. Therefore the project is divided over different venues. Beirut Art Center hosted the exhibition for a period of two months and the roundtable organized by Fondation Saradar. The rest of the exhibition was spread over the walls of the city. The locations of the outdoor interventions were indicated on a map that visitors picked up at the main venues and find updates online. This initiative sought to:

  • Emphasize the medium of graffiti as a universal artistic expression and a timeless communication tool used worldwide,
  • Create a platform in Beirut for local and international graffitists as well as selected Arab artists to:
    – Meet, exchange experiences, and share techniques,
    – Encourage creative ventures and innovative collaborations,
    – Provide well- and lesser known – artists with wide international exposure,
    – Explore and understand the history and evolution of graffiti in Lebanon,
    – Encourage new perceptions of graffiti in Lebanon by placing it in the context of a contemporary art space,
  • Promote public space as important and legitimate as a site for social and artistic engagement.

This project was carried by four different energies:

  • Charles Vallaud aka Prime
  • Siska
  • Don R. Karl aka Stone
  • Tania Helou (Fondation Saradar)

Artists

International artists
Ammar Abo Bakr (Egypt)
Aya Tarek (Egypt)
Btoy (Spain)
Graffitimuseum (Germany)
Inti (Chile)
L’Atlas (France)
Mark Jenkins (USA)
Obetre (Belgium)
Parole (Belgium)
Reso (France)
Tanc (France)
Zepha (France)

Lebanon-based artists
Abe
Ali
Ashekman
Benoit Debbané
Dihzahyners
Eps
Fish
Horek
K-Brit
Kimewi
M3alim
Oras
Pac
Phat2
Twik
Yazan
Y2T
Sens
Zed

Partners

Marius SARADAR Holding sal (Beirut, Lebanon)

Beirut Art Center (Beirut, Lebanon)

Sponsors

Anis Commercial Printing Press (Beirut, Lebanon)

Bureau International Jeunesse (Brussels, Belgium)

Century Motor Company – Hyundai (Beirut, Lebanon)

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany (Beirut, Lebanon)

Diageo (Beirut, Lebanon)

Embassy of Spain (Lebanon)

From Here to Fame-Don Karl (Berlin, Germany)

Goethe-Institut (Beirut, Lebanon)

Goethe-Institut (Alexandria, Egypt)

GraffMe (Toulouse, France)

Institut Français de Beyrouth (Lebanon)

Instituto Cervantes (Beirut, Lebanon)

Les Affichages Pikasso s.a.l (Beirut, Lebanon)

LIA Insurance (Beirut, Lebanon)

MTN – Montana Colors Middle East (Beirut, Lebanon)

OSLO by Nayla Audi (Beirut, Lebanon)

OSLO by Nayla Audi (Beirut, Lebanon)

Red Bull (Beirut, Lebanon)

Sarah’s Bag (Beirut, Lebanon)

Tinol Paints International Co. sal (Beirut, Lebanon)

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Video Vintage

A collaboration between: Centre Pompidou, Paris / Beirut Art Center, Beirut in partnership with the Institut Français, Fondation Saradar and BLC Bank.

Ant Farm (Chip Lord, Doug Michels, Curtis Schreier) and T.R. Uthco (Doug Hall, Diane Hall, Jody Procter)The Eternal Frame, 1975 © Courtesy University of California, Berkeley ArtMuseum and Pacific Film Archive

Beirut Art Center presented Video Vintage 1963 – 1983, an exhibition of 72 videos by over 50 international artists selected from Centre Pompidou′s New Media Collection.

The videos in this exhibition were presented in a «vintage» setting. The staged living rooms in the exhibition space invited visitors to view works of video art in their original historical dimension, in a «homely» atmosphere. Even though the selection was not exhaustive, it allowed to trace the development of video art over the course of two decades. For twenty years, artists had researched the potentials of this emerging medium as an artistic form that can be employed toward critical ends. As the curator, Christine Van Assche writes, «in the age of «all digital» video, we feel that it is important to reconsider the trajectory of this medium, which has been, for a period of fifty years, influenced by every aesthetic movement—from performance, the Fluxus movement, minimal, conceptual and post-conceptual art to current research in the field of Cultural Studies.»

The exhibition was organized in three sections: «Performance and Self-filming,» «Television: Research, Experiments, Criticism,» and «Attitudes, Forms, Concepts.» In the 1960s and 70s artists in Europe, North and South America used the first portable video cameras. The recordings of their performances were often socially and politically driven. One of the first to use video as an art medium was Nam June Paik. In 1965 he took up the first portable video camera, Sony′s Portapak, and began filming himself in close-ups. In 1980 Mona Hatoum filmed her performances using the same camera. The resulting works open the exhibition with the first thematic emphasis «Performance and Self-filming.» The relationship between the medium of video and television makes up the second thematic in the exhibition. During this period, the television industry wanted to define itself apart from cinema by seeking new and different productions and aesthetics. In France for instance, the Research Department of the ORTF, the official body for radio and television broadcasting, invited directors and artists to use the first video filming and editing equipment. Jean-Christophe Averty, Jean-Luc Godard and Thierry Kuntzel produced numerous works in this context. In the United States, television channels set up similar laboratories in which Nam June Paik and William Wegman were involved. Soon enough, however, many artists began to adopt a critical stance toward television as a means of communication, following the theories of Ant Farm and Marshall McLuhan’s «the message is the medium.» Some private initiatives also took place such as in 1969 and 1970, when the famous German producer Gerry Schum commissioned artists like Joseph Beuys, Daniel Buren, and Lawrence Weiner for a televisual exhibition.

The third section was dedicated to more conceptual research produced by artists, who for the most part come from a background in fine arts, and to the integration of video works into museums. International artists employed video, questioning it as a medium by highlighting its properties and emphasizing the performative aspect through the body. In this section, there were works by Daniel Buren, Valie Export, and Marta Rosler among others.

(Courtesy of Beirut Art Center)

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Home Works 6

Fondation Saradar was the main sponsor of the 6th edition of Home Works, organized by Ashkal Alwan, the Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts.

Home Works 6 is the main forum on cultural practices in Lebanon and took place from the 17th May until the 10th of June 2013.
This forum included lectures, performances, theatre, dance, exhibitions, music, sound, video, and film, in different venues across Beirut.

Home Works Forum is a multidisciplinary platform that takes place in Beirut, Lebanon about every other year. Since its inception in 2002, Home Works has evolved into one of the most vibrant platforms for research and exchange on cultural practices in the region and beyond. Artists, cultural practitioners, writers, and thinkers gather for ten days in order to share their works, which take the form of exhibitions, performances, lectures, videos, artists’ talks, workshops and publications. What links the forum’s participants together is their approach to a common set of urgent, timely questions. Their work endeavors to create methods of critical inquiry and aesthetic form capable of conveying those questions meaningfully and proposing possible solutions. The Home Works Forum is a productive space in which political, social, economic, and cultural realities can be explored, reflected, and made manifest as visual and verbal articulations that occur with some consistency.

As a title, the term “Home Works” suggests an intertwining of public and private spheres, the outside world of work and the inside space of home. It refers to the exercises, lessons, and research problems that are worked out by students repetitively and in solitude. More broadly, “Home Works,” itself an impossible plural, implies a process of internal excavation, of digging and burrowing deeper while simultaneously constructing and accumulating new practices.

(Courtesy of Ashkal Alwan)

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Saloua Raouda Choucair

Tate Modern presented from April and until October 2013, the world’s first major museum exhibition of Lebanese artist Saloua Raouda Choucair (b. 1916).

Comprising over 120 works, many of which have never been seen before and were exhibited for the first time, this exhibition brought together paintings, sculptures and other objects made by the artist over six decades, reflecting her interests in science, mathematics and Islamic art and poetry. In Choucair’s 97th year, this retrospective celebrated her extraordinary body of work and her contribution to international modernism.

Choucair is a pioneer of abstract art in the Middle East and is now becoming recognised as an important figure in the history of global modernism. A rare female voice in the Beirut art scene from the 1940s onwards, her work combines elements of western abstraction with Islamic aesthetics. It is characterised by an experimental approach to materials alongside an elegant use of modular forms, lines and curves drawn from the traditions of Islamic design.

The exhibition focused on Choucair’s sculptures from the 1950s to the 1980s, created in wood, metal, stone and fibreglass, as well as key examples of her early paintings such as Self-Portrait 1943 and Paris-Beirut 1948. The artist often created works in discrete series, a number of which were included in the exhibition. These included her ‘interforms’, such as Sculpture with One Thousand Pieces 1966-1968, which comprise of seemingly simple cubes or blocks which house intricately carved and highly complex internal forms.

Works known as ‘duals,’ consisting of two carefully interlocking parts, and a selection of her modular ‘poems’ series were also on display. These works are made from individual pieces that stack together in a flexible way, much like the stanzas of Arabic poetry. Choucair thought of many of her works as being in constant flux: structures to be altered by the viewer, the elements or the artist’s own additions and subtractions over time. Like a Mobius strip her work is endlessly various, returning to specific themes but never with the same attributes or form.

The Curators

The exhibition was curated at Tate Modern by Jessica Morgan, The Daskalopoulos Curator, International Art, and Ann Coxon, Assistant Curator, who describe Choucair as ‘a pioneer of abstract art in the Middle East,’ adding that she is now ‘becoming recognised as an important figure in the history of global modernism.’

Biography

Born in Beirut in 1916, Saloua Raouda Choucair began painting under the tutelage of leading Lebanese landscape artists Mustafa Farroukh and Omar Onsi. She studied at the American University in Beirut and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and attended the studio of Fernand Léger in the late 1940s.
After a period in the United States, she returned to live and work in her homeland in 1955.
Throughout the 1980s and 90s Choucair received increasing recognition and awards for her work in Lebanon, including a number of commissions for public sculpture in Beirut. Her work has been shown at UNESCO Palace in Beirut, the Beirut Exhibition Centre and most recently in a display of newly acquired works at Tate Modern.

(Courtesy of Tate Modern)

UPDATE

Promoting the Show

A widespread marketing campaign took place both prior to and during the exhibition’s run at Tate Modern through Tate’s established communications network, advertising, promotions and digital marketing to promote Saloua Raouda Choucair to national and international audiences.
Marketing consisted of adverts on billboards, in press and online, and posters were positioned at key London Underground stations.
Advertorials reached the Arabic community in London and across the UK.
The Saoula Raouda Choucair blog and website content was seeded to Tate social media networks including Twitter and Facebook, and the exhibition was also promoted in email bulletins to Tate Members and Tate online users.

Additional programming

In addition to the exhibition, Tate Learning programmed a British Sign Language Tour (Friday 2 August), a Lipspeaker Tour (Friday 9 August) and a Curator’s tour and private view (Monday 7 October). This programme was designed to open up the exhibition and the work of Saloua Raouda Choucair to wider audiences and to enhance visitors’ learning.

Visitor response to the exhibition

Due to its popularity, Tate Modern extended the display of Saloua Raouda Choucair for an additional month, enabling additional visitors to experience the work of this extraordinary artist. Saloua Raouda Choucair attracted over 70,000 visitors during its 7 month run at Tate Modern.

Press response to the exhibition

Saloua Raouda Choucair generated excellent press coverage both during the lead up to the show and throughout its run.

The exhibition was previewed in various publications, including the Independent, Daily Telegraph, Wall Street Journal and Guardian Guide. The press view was held at Tate Modern on Tuesday 16 April and was well attended by journalists, photographers and film crews. The artist’s daughter, Hala Choucair, was interviewed alongside the exhibition’s curators, Jessica Morgan and Ann Coxon, and positive reviews followed in The Guardian, Evening Standard and The Times.

Broadcast coverage included news stories on BBC World News and BBC News Online, as well as discussions on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and Radio 3’s Nightwaves. Online picture galleries ran on the Telegraph and BBC websites and further online coverage included Huffington Post, Londonist and One Stop Arts. The exhibition was chosen as an exhibition of the week in The Times and Guardian Guide and a 4-star review was published on the Female Arts website.

The exhibition was featured in Art Quarterly’s summer issue, in which the artist was described as ‘an important figure in the history of global modernism’. The Lady praised Tate Modern’s trend for highlighting the work of a generation of female artists who have seemingly toiled unnoticed for years’ and the Socialist Review commented on the way Tate Modern’s exhibition programme highlights lesser known Arab and African artists.

(Courtesy of Tate Modern)

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Art Onboard

The ‘art onboard’ project is a first art initiative of its kind ever to be held in Lebanon and the Middle East. It is an outdoor exhibition of the original works of ALBA, AUB, LAU, UL & USEK students, reproduced and displayed on selected Promomedia advertising billboards, deployed in prime locations in central Beirut. Artworks selected by a Jury of experts were showcased on assigned billboards during the whole month of September 2015.

Objectives

The project seeks to:

  • Promote art in Lebanon by stimulating art initiatives, associating art to community development and consolidating the role of art in corporate citizenship activities.
  • Support promising Art students, providing exposure to new talents, encouraging art creativity, thus bringing fresh impulse to the local art scene; Finally.
  • Encourages interaction, since it establishes a creative dialogue between young people and their urban environment, while it contributes to the embellishment of the city.

The ‘art onboard’ contest

The Contest

The ‘art onboard’ contest was launched in all five universities in November 2014. A Contest Terms and Conditions detailed the registration procedure and student eligibility, deadlines; technical specifications and other requirements to ensure the proper implementation of the project.

The Jury

An eight-member Jury is composed by a representative from each participating university and Three independent jurors not affiliated to any of the listed academic institutions.

Mrs. Sandra Dagher
    Founding Member, Beirut Art Center (BAC)d Prize, Layal al Wazzan (LAU)

Mr. Ahmad Gharbieh
    Assistant Professor, Graphic Design Program, Department of Architecture and Design
    American University of Beirut (AUB)

Dr. Elsa Ghossoub Aramouni
    Assistant Professor
    Visual Arts Department, Institute of Fine Arts 2 (IBA 2)
    Lebanese University (UL)

Mr. Maroun  Kosseifi
    Head of Graphic Design and Advertising Department, Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts
    Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK)

Dr. Isabelle de le Court
    Coordinator in History of Art, Lecturer
    Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts (ALBA), University of Balamand

Dr. Yasmine Nachabe Taan
    Chair, Department of Design, School of Architecture and Design
    Lebanese American University (LAU)

Ms. Odile Riachi
    Creative Director
    Leo Burnett Beirut

Dr. Nayla Tamraz
    Head of the Department of French Literature and the Master in Art criticism and Curating
    Saint Joseph University (USJ)

The Winners

Under the patronage of H.E. Mr. Raymond Araygi, Minister of Culture, the art onboard project was launched during a press conference held on Friday September 4, 2015.

Out of the 39 participants, 7 candidates gathered the votes of the Jury:

›  Sarah Fayad (ALBA)
›  Karol el Masri (AUB)
›  Krystel Saneh (ALBA)
›  Safa Sinno (AUB)
›  Hagop Vartabedian (IBA 2, UL)
›  Layal al Wazzan (LAU)
›  Jad Abou Zeki (LAU)

The event was concluded with the announcement of the ‘art onboard’ Contest 3 winners, awarded by Fondation Saradar as follows:

›  1st Prize, Sarah Fayad (ALBA)
›  2nd Prize, Hagop Vartabedian (IBA 2, UL)
›  3rd Prize, Layal al Wazzan (LAU)

Artworks billboard locations

The selected artworks were on display from the 4th to the 30th of September 2015, at the following locations: Achrafieh, Gemmayzeh, Burj el Ghazal, Sodeco Square center, Marfaa, Saifi, Dora, Saint-Georges, Verdun, Hamra, Down Town Beirut, Furn el Shebbak, Hazmieh.

The ‘art onboard’ Jury selection

The ‘art onboard’ Jury selected artworks

Photography

Sarah Fayad (21 years old) – 1st Prize
Ecole des Arts Décoratifs
Section Arts Graphiques et Publicité – Photographie
Master
Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts (ALBA) – Université de Balamand

 Painting on canvas

Hagop Vartabedian (28 years old) – 2nd Prize

Institut des Beaux-Arts (IBA) 2
Visual Arts Department
3rd year
Lebanese University

Silk Screen

Layal Al Wazzan (23 years old) – 3rd Prize
Department of Design

School of Architecture and Design
Senior Graduate
Lebanese American University (LAU)

Photography and scratchboard

Safa Sinno (19 years old)
Faculty of Engineering & Architecture
Architecture and Graphic Design
2nd year
American University of Beirut (AUB)

Digital illustration

 Krystel Saneh (20 years old)
Ecole des Arts Décoratifs
Section Arts Graphiques et Publicité – Illustration
3rd year
Académie Libanaise des Beaux-arts (ALBA) – Université de Balamand

“Modern Times” – Photography, watercolor and vectors

Karol El Masri (20 years old)
Faculty of Engineering & Architecture
Architecture and Graphic Design
3rd year
American University of Beirut (AUB)

Digital illustration

Jad Abou Zeki (21 years old)
Department of Design
School of Architecture and Design
Senior Graduate
Lebanese American University (LAU)

Jury Praise

‘Vestige’ – Illustration

Mohammad Houbou (21 years old)
Department of Design

School of Architecture and Design
Senior Graduate
Lebanese American University (LAU)

Partners

  • An Nahar
  • Chucri El Khoury & Partners Law Firm
  • Promomedia
  • Spearhead Marketing & Communication
  • World Environment Magazine & TV
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Andrea Paoli (2011)

Supported by Fondation Saradar, Lebanese Taekwondo champion Andrea Paoli participated in the 2012 Olympic Games held in London. She represented Lebanon in the 57kg category after having won all national and international championships leading up to her qualification to the Olympics.

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Gloria Nasr (2013)

Gloria Nasr was born in Beirut in 1970 and has been living in France since 1995. She is a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation.
Gloria began to run in 2002. She participated in the Paris Marathon in 2003 and ran numerous marathons in the following years. She ran the New York, Berlin, Copenhagen and Beirut Marathons among others. She completed the Marathon des Sables, known as the toughest race on earth. In 2012, Gloria Nasr ran from Paris to London for the Olympic Games, a 10-day race of 490 km. She participated in the Lille Ultra Marathon, together with 4 disabled athletes who competed in the last Paralympic Games in August 2012.

Ten years after her first marathon, Gloria Nasr began her Paris-Beirut transcontinental race on April 7th during the Paris Marathon. This 5000 km race across France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Lebanon was dedicated to peace in Lebanon and the Near East. Gloria Nasr ran 52km per day. A team was accompanying Gloria Nasr during her race.

Departure date: Sunday 7th of April at 8:45 AM Paris time, 9:45 AM Beirut time with the “Marathon de Paris”. Gloria crossed most of the European countries and Turkey. She reached Lebanon on July 10, 2013.
During a press conference held at Fondation Saradar headquarters on July 11, Gloria Nasr mentioned her willingness to run in Lebanon, considering that the success of her race on the Lebanese territory was a new challenge.
Departure took place after the press conference. Gloria Nasr headed to Adonis accompanied by a small team of SARADAR Group members. Then Gloria proceeded to Batroun, Harissa (July 13). She pursued her marathon in Mount Lebanon, across Aley, Deir el Qamar, and in Jezzine, to finally reach Barti (East of Saida) where her father is buried.
The Mayor of Barti held a ceremony to congratulate Gloria for her achievement. Another official event in honor of Gloria was scheduled by the Governor of Saida.

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Maxime Chaya (2013)

After the successes of the Seven Summits project (May 2006), and the Three Poles Challenge (April 2009), Maxime Chaya was on ‘expedition mode’ again. This time, he went for quite an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Indeed, one of the last remaining great challenges out there: Rowing the Indian Ocean (RIO).

The preparations started in Lebanon. The voyage began from Perth – Western Australia, across the Indian Ocean, over to the Seychelles – off the East coast of Africa. Nothing but relentless open water with no land in sight for 4,200 Nm (7,700 km). Once the boat departed, it could not turn back for any reason, as wind and current prevented it from doing so.

The Crew

From past experience, Maxime knows that as with every such endeavour, it is the members’ mental strength and their interaction as a team that will make or break the achievement. Maxime has chosen to lead a three-man team, which he believes boasts the greatest chances of success during tough adventures. His two teammates: LB (UK, aged 40) and SK (UK, aged 32) have the necessary knowledge, skill, experience and will, for this crossing. Both have successfully rowed across the Atlantic and are eager to embark on this epic adventure.

The Boat

The chosen boat was shipped to Lebanon where its final fittings and tests were done. There, it was stripped of its original paint, re-baptized and branded with the sponsors’ logos. Sea trials were carried-out on the Mediterranean before it was shipped again to Australia for the crossing. Conditions aboard the 29-foot boat were not comfortable, in fact far from it. When not on row duty, the crewmembers tried to recuperate in polyphasic sleep cycles amid damp and cramped conditions. Besides sleep deprivation, slow starvation is inevitable as the rowers’ bodies will not be replenishing the amount of calories burnt from rowing up to 14 hours a day.

Timing

The cyclone season is usually over by the end of March. The crossing could take anything from 70 to 95 days. During the first weeks at sea the members’ bodies went into a form of shock. Despite the relentless rocking, they adjusted to the new environment and unrelenting nature of the duties. After that, the trepidation and seasickness would subside as the boat inches westward.

Weather and Capzise Danger

The weather across the Indian Ocean wasn’t the same as that experienced during the Mediterranean sea-trials. The team had to row in high seas, often against wind and current. There was bad weather at some stage of the crossing and there was a chance the boat may be involved in a hurricane. The risk of capsizing was real, but the boat was a self-righting one and the hatches were designed to be hermetic Collision danger.

There is far less shipping across the Indian Ocean than the Atlantic for example. Yet, the latter has successfully been rowed across several times. Sharks, whales and dolphins were common sight, but do not pose any danger of collision (although one of the boats considered for this journey survived a hit by an 800-pound swordfish while crossing the South Atlantic!). There was no support boat, but there was a life raft on board. This was only a measure of last-resort if the boat should sink God forbid, as one only climbs up to a life raft, never down…

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