Women are playing a vital role in the Middle East’s growing contemporary art scene. Recognizing art’s power to communicate, engage, and transform has helped a lengthening list of female creatives to promote the region’s culture while challenging its stereotypes.
Annie Vartivarian is the founder of the Letitia Gallery in Beirut, Lebanon, which is considered a hub of discovery for MENA’s regional artistic talent. MENA is an English-language acronym referring to the Middle East and North Africa region. Her passion for showcasing the diversity of Middle Eastern and international artists through contemporary art is shared with her daughter Gaia. With their gallery, the mother-daughter team is striving to create a hub for creative discourse and cultural celebration. (Women In Family Business)
Gaia, what is it like to work with your mother?
Gaia: I find that work is always more genuine when it’s with a family member. It is easier to be more honest and direct about ideas and thoughts for the future of the gallery when you know the other person through and through. I think this level of honesty is an important ingredient in making our business stronger and more successful. At the same time, it is also important for us never to mix our personal lives with the business we are running. However, I certainly believe that working together has brought us closer to each other, and it has been an exciting journey so far.
Annie, what is it like to work with your daughter?
Annie: It has been wonderful. I always knew that Gaia was a very attentive person and that she would give all her attention and care towards the betterment of the business. It felt like a natural step for us to work together. I felt very safe asking her to run the gallery with me. I have always seen myself in her, and when we started working together, I had big expectations. She surprised me by not just meeting them but also exceeding them. Gaia has a strong passion for the arts and truly understands Letitia’s mission and what we want to achieve as a business and as a space for cultural discourse. It has been very exciting to work together.