Restoration & Conservation
BeMA's Restoration Lab
After receiving on indefinite loan, the impressive and substantive collection of modern and contemporary art of the Lebanese Ministry of Culture, BeMA launched its conservation and restoration lab which establishment was funded by the Cultural Preservation Program of the German Federal Foreign Office.
The principal goal of BeMA’s conservation and restoration lab is to restore and preserve the collection of the Lebanese Ministry of Culture, entrusted to BeMA as its permanent collection.
BeMA’s lab, initially based at the Beirut UNESCO Palace where most of the artworks are in storage, is located today on the campus of the Université Saint-Joseph (USJ).

Safeguarding a National Treasure
The collection suffered during the Lebanese Civil War due to poor storage, with many paintings left in uncontrolled conditions that were detrimental to paint and canvas. Neglect, bad handling, and exposure to high humidity levels have left their marks on the artworks mainly in the form of tears, slack canvases, deformations, losses, mould, efflorescence, and thick layers of dust and grime. The newly restored works are now being stored correctly until the project is completed and they can be displayed at BeMA.
BeMA’s team of experts strive to conserve and restore the artworks by using the least invasive methods for each piece and ensuring their protection from future damage and deterioration.
During the restoration work, the artworks are thoroughly examined and the materials and techniques used by the artists are studied. This allows for making informed decisions on preservation strategies and leads the way for further scientific research about artists, techniques, materials, etc.
BeMA’s lab is proud to be working with various academics from the Université Saint-Joseph (USJ) to understand and find solutions to complex issues facing art restoration and preservation.
Besides the mission of safeguarding the art collection of the Ministry of Culture, BeMA wants to contribute more globally to the preservation of cultural heritage in Lebanon. Continuous professional development, academic exchanges – both locally and internationally –, training of Lebanese students, and the establishment of a professional program in conservation summarize the main goals of BeMA´s restoration program.

The Story So Far
BeMA´s team has to date restored and conserved over 270 paintings and works on paper.
In 2019, after having carefully dusted over 1,800 artworks, BeMA relocated a large part of the collection to its new and well-equipped storage at the UNESCO Palace.
During that same year, BeMA presented for the first time its restoration project at the Beirut Art Fair, through an exhibition and a documentary capturing its restoration activities.
In 2020, after the devastating explosion of August 4th in the Beirut port, BeMA supported institutions, galleries, and professionals working in the field of heritage preservation with various activities.
• BeMA organized in collaboration with Conservation Consultants Rachel Barker associates an emergency response workshop to help Lebanese restorers with their challenging tasks.
• Together with the Cologne Institute of Conservation Sciences (CICS), BeMA set up an online tear-mending workshop with the world-renowned tear-mending expert Petra Demuth. The workshop was aimed at Lebanese restorers to aid in the conservation of the numerous artworks torn after the explosion.
• For two months, BeMA´s team supported the massive dusting campaign of the entire art collection of the Sursock Museum.
• In the framework of UNESCO's LiBeirut initiative, BeMA welcomed a team of postgraduate fellows from the Cologne Institute of Conservation Sciences and Bern University of Applied Sciences who helped with the restoration of 17 damaged artworks from the Grand Serail, local galleries and art collectors.

Member of

BeMA's Restoration Story [Video]
The BeMA – UNESCO LiBeirut Restoration Project
As part of UNESCO’s Li Beirut initiative to revive cultural life in the Lebanese capital, and with a grant from the Government of Iceland, BeMA restored 17 paintings damaged during the Beirut August 4th 2020 port blasts.
The artworks all carry the signatures of renowned Lebanese artists such as Jamil Molaeb, Hussein Madi, Amine El Basha, Shawki Chamoun, Paul Guiraguossian, Rafik Majzoub, Edgar Mazigi, Nizar Daher, Hassan Jouni and Bibi Zoghbe, and include pieces from the BeMA - Ministry of Culture collection exhibited at the Grand Serail, as well as others from local galleries and private collectors.
The treatment of the artworks followed a series of steps, such as the cleaning of the paintings’ surface and reverse, the mending of the tears using microscopes and special light, and the retouching of the scratches. 7 restorers worked on the restoration project: 4 from the BeMA team and 3 Graduate students of the Conservation Institute of the Cologne University of Applied Sciences, specialized in tear mending canvas restoration.

A Selection Of Restored Artworks