Nelida Nassar 10.03.2013
Amid the construction cranes and daily unnerving noise of Achrafieh in Beirut lies on a ground level apartment an oasis of serenity that fronts as Green Tara House Gallery. Walk down the narrow alley to the garden where the scent of a dozen of fragrant, delicious incenses greet you and you are welcomed to a treasure trove.
Green Tara takes its name from the name of the Goddess of Protection that emerged from one of the two tears shed by Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara upon her seeing the suffering on earth. Specifically, it is a neighborhood store with a big world beat! Since January 2013, Karima Hawwa’s globetrotting passion for other cultures and craft traditions has transformed this 5-room space into a driving force and inspiration. Born to an Italian and Swiss mother and a Palestinian and Lebanese father Karima epitomizes cosmopolitanism. She digs deep both near and far to bring home fairly traded treasures to share with her customers.
From Tibet, it is the increasingly rare furniture painted with images of deities, religious symbols and dragons or vines. They cohabit in harmony with rustic and refined low-rise tables carved with delicate design, beds with ink stamped and embroidered covers and cushions, stools and embellished doors from Nepal. Bright colored, over a hundred year old textiles from Bhutan astonish by their modernity and contemporary design. The carpets, cushions, bed covers, and table cloths from Kashmir are hand-woven in silk and wool and have geometrical patterns. Numerous decorative items from the Himalayas make one of a kind gift: singing bowls, statues, boxes, candle holders, thangkas, and vases. The illuminated, colorful Syrian blown glass grape style lamps add a note of whimsy.
But, it is undoubtedly the collection of sacred paintings from Nepal and Tibet that deserves the largest praise. With swipe of brushes, colors give life to the Buddha, gold for the skin, black for the eyes, orange for the robes while statues of Tibetan Buddhist deities gaze on. Remarkably detailed Mandalas, a form of geometric art considered a representation of the cosmos adorn one of the gallery’s walls. The paintings recreate the Tibetan art tradition reflected in the Newari influence, which comes from the Kathmandu Valley. Centuries ago, Newari artisans were welcomed by some Tibetan rulers, especially those who followed the Sakya branch of Tibetan Buddhism.
Stylish, fun, distinctive – Green Tara’s clothing consisting of embroidered jackets, shoes and accessories particularly Pashmina scarves speak to a unique sense of style. Not only it is beautiful and made by Kashmiri’s minorities, but it is extremely affordable, and so comfortable. Moms and daughters alike find plenty to love within the same walls! And the persons who run the store are so sweet and warm and give great vibes.
Green Tara House and Gallery
Achrafieh – Furn El Hayek, www.greentara-lb.com
Telephones: 961.01.203.299, 961.03.928.595.