YEREVAN / BEIRUT — Tania Bakalian Safieddine, known as Tanbak, is a Lebanese contemporary artist. Born in Beirut, in 1954, she studied Spanish literature in Madrid and Barcelona and international relations at Georgetown University in Washington. She lived in Paris, where she studied and taught in various art studios. Tanbak produces paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media installations using natural colors and materials to depict historical themes, including the Lebanese civil war. Since 1997, Tanbak has been widely exhibited in Lebanon, as well as in number of countries of the world.
Dear Tania, you have degrees from two universities, but none of them is in art. Do you think your art would be different if you receive an academic art education?
I belong to a generation when women had to study serious subjects. If at the time I had said I wanted to go to art school, it would not have been serious. I wanted to leave Lebanon, so I went to Spain first, where I studied the language.
The contemporary art scene is active in Armenia. Our galleries and artists are in touch with their partners form various countries, but it seems here we do not know Lebanese modern art. How do you describe it?
It is very problematic. This is a good question study more deeply. Actually, on the cultural level relations between Armenia and Lebanon are equal to zero, although many non-Armenians Lebanese people travel to Hayastan and they love it. And we know nothing of the Armenian modern art scene. Ah yes. I remember a few years ago Ashkal Alwan, the Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts, had an Armenian guest for a lecture and it was extremely interesting. And in music festivals we often have musicians. But I do not recall any Armenian visual artists.
Who are your teachers and what are your inspirations and concerns?