HOME Gallery represents Chrystyna Salam’s passion for art. Being a dedicated collector, her house is filled with paintings and ceramics that go right back to ancient times.
Lebanon is a far cry from Chrystyna Salam’s origins and previous HOME. She identifies herself as a refugee who fled a crisis in Ukraine and found salvation in Paris where she spent a number of years and became a prominent art gallerist. Salam specialises in Russian Constructivist art which has a specific artistic and architectural philosophy. It happened that Oussama Salam walked in to Chrystyna’s gallery where she first met him; he had the same interest in art as she did. Soon after their marriage, Salam made her first trip to Lebanon in July, 2006, but then had to make an emergency escape due to the unfortunate situation. When discussing the events that followed, Salam compared returning to Lebanon again as giving birth for the second time.
“After giving birth for the first time, you think of the pain and how difficult it was and you say -I’ll never do it again but two years later and you’re ready for your second child,” explains Salam.
And indeed Salam was ready to return to Lebanon in 2009, and settled in and made it her HOME but this HOME is out of the ordinary. Salam transformed her place into the HOME Gallery adorned with exquisitely unique creations and exclusive collector’s items without editions. Pieces from ceramic legends like Roger Capron, Innocenti and Pol Chambost enhance the atheistic of Salam’s beautiful HOME Gallery. Every corner is the outcome of mindful selection and unique taste. Bold paintings and vibrant colours of red, white, green and black shades set the tone and give us a small insight to Salam’s lively soul.
A tour of the HOME Gallery with glimpses of history
Salam explains what makes these pieces so unique is the way that they are true reflections of history while also being timeless, irreplaceable and truly one of a kind. The mid 1950s witnessed a revolution in the perception of ceramics from a service oriented usage in to artistic and creative expression. This change was ignited in small town called Vallauris in the South of France located near Cannes. Many factories were located there, one of which was Madura, run by Susan Ramié. Most of the work produced during that period was made for utilitarian purposes.
It was when Picasso arrived in this small town he added his genius touch to the product and that inspired many ceramists to do the same which set the movement in motion.
“If you live in truth and free of all possessions, you will have no fear of death”
Salam has the ability to enchant a person with her stories and passion towards art. She has expanded into contemporary art, and meticulous ceramics statues by the likes of modern artists like Dalo, that can be seen on several tables. Salam carefully chooses elaborate works of art that celebrates life’s meaningfulness. She feels no need to cling to material possessions or attachments; instead she finds freedom and joy in providing consultancy to those interested in obtaining a collector’s item. She believes that they both deserve and have earned it. “If you live in truth and free of all possessions, you will have no fear of death” says Salam.
Art in Lebanon
An interest in 20th century art is relatively new in Lebanon according to Salam. To her, there is a “naissance” and not a renaissance occurring in Lebanon; a birth of the value of art and appreciation for it. She believes that in order to proclaim yourself as a true artist you must first prove yourself and that is done by showcasing your work in several galleries worldwide. She also believes that gallerists should promote, care for and follow up on the artists they exhibit. Salam enjoys visiting several galleries in Lebanon and is amazed by the ceramic artwork done by young artists such as Nathalie Khayat, Souraya Credos and Sandra Zeeni. She says that she loves it here because she loves all the people she has dealt with. “Lebanese are courageous and diverse in all fields and they are admirable people. In other countries you have more distinctive boundaries between careers,” says Salam. With many galleries opening in the region, there is hope for the next generation to stay.