Carla Sayad's Sketchbook of Beirut Wins the Top International Prize at a French Festival
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Carla Sayad is a Lebanese painter and illustrator for whom travel journals have become part of her life, both personally and professionally. Her book of sketches In Beirut, Urban Sketching just won the 2016 Prix du Carnet de Voyage International, (the 2016 International Award for Travel Journals) at the Rendez-Vous du Carnet de Voyage, a festival in Clermont-Ferrand, France, dedicated to the travel journal. Now in its 17th year, the festival takes place every November, bringing together artists, travellers and fans from the four corners of the earth.
Sayad, who studied interior design, began sketching on a napkin in a restaurant in Moscow. Since then, everywhere she goes, she records her travels in sketchbooks. But it was in her home city of Beirut that she began to sketch and paint in watercolor buildings, among others, those from the Ottoman era, many of which were destroyed during the civil war, or in danger of being destroyed by real estate developers. The result is a book of 60 watercolors with Sayad’s handwritten observations, giving the reader a tour of the capital and committing to paper a city in which the Ottoman-era architecture and French colonial atmosphere are fast disappearing.