Raghad Mardini is Founding Director of Litehouse Gallery, part of her ongoing commitment to showcasing the work of Syrian contemporary artists, developing their market, and integrating them further into the international art scene.
Born in Syria, Mardini holds a Masters in Structural Engineering and BSS in Civil Engineering from Damascus University, where she has designed and restored many houses. In 2008 she moved to Lebanon.
“I have always been involved in the art scene in Damascus. After the situation in Syria deteriorated in 2011, thousands fled to Lebanon, among them many young emerging artists. With the difficult conditions and emotional trauma, artists had to take available jobs in construction and in restaurants instead of creating art. Given the situation and my belief in the importance of art in times of war, the idea of the Art Residence in Aley arose.”
She had come across an old Ottoman stables in the suburbs of Beirut, abandoned since the Lebanese Civil War, which she started renovating herself. In the grounds was a lone walnut tree, suffering sadly yet still possessing beauty, resilience and life. Inspired by the tree and it’s likeness to her home country, similarly exhausted and in ruins, Mardini decided to transform the space into a haven for the exiled Syrian artists in Lebanon. Here she hosted Syrian artists, providing them with space and freedom to express themselves, and also curating exhibitions and performances worldwide.
Mardini moved to the UK, where she obtained her M.A. in Museums, Galleries and Contemporary Culture from Westminster University.
“I came to London in the summer of 2015 with my two children. I was alone, with no support structure and nothing to back me up. But I carried with me my long time and extensive experience in art and cultural management, and my vast network of Syrian artist.”
She established Litehouse Gallery after her graduation in 2017, a time both wonderful and challenging. “I am this determined person who will not give up. My eyes are wide open”