Maya Hodroj, Cleo Alemadi, Dania El Kadi, Daniella Chartouni, Alexandra Naccache, Mayssa Kanaan and Kelly El Khoury are the brains behind this online operation, known today as ‘’Dikkéni’’; a conceptual goal to have a stage for social networking where many emerging talents could stand tall and proud, having the light shed on them and their amazing work. Not to mention, all the proceeds would go the 30 artists they feature on their page as well as two NGOs, ‘’Bedayati’’ and ‘’Gestures from the Heart’’. And just like the artworks scattered across the walls in Downtown Beirut, Dikkeni was created from a purpose to see a vision beyond a simple dead end and see the potential for something more. Because those walls could technically block you physically, but they couldn’t block the imagination these women had to see an opportunity for creative solutions.
By Khaled Alameh
These seven women got inspired by the tragedy Lebanon was facing since October and were able to connect their minds together through the help of equal goals that pushed them to make something like Dikkéni happen. And they were all inspired by three ideals that were equally shared among them:
‘’Three aspects really: first, we were inspired by the uprising of Thawra art that emerged during the first few months of the revolution. We always knew Lebanon had a vibrant art scene, but the intensity, awareness, wit and courage our artists have shown since October 2019 have been a daily staple and a synonym of Thawra. Their ability to express the sentiment of many and contribute to the scream for justice truly inspired us. Second, we believe in the infinite potential of Lebanese talent. Our artists deserve a platform that represents them globally, presents their work to the world and rewards them accordingly. Finally, we are a team of students and professionals who believe in conscious consumerism, social entrepreneurship, and the power of teams. We saw in Dikkéni a business that turns these ideals into reality.’’
Lebanon is full of so much life and culture. And even with the economic trouble it’s in right now, we should never forget to look to the side and remember the brilliancy that its’ creative inhabitants possess. Dikkéni is doing just that by exisiting as a base that believes in the undeniable artistic talents of Lebanese artists. And with its help, these artists will be able to get the exposure they deserve, that supports their dreams and any financial predicaments they may be going through as struggling creatives.
There’s really always those few simple plans of hope for the problems this country is going through, and one of the best forms of action include having hope in depending on international help, which is also coming from Lebanese citizens who were able to escape before the up rise of trouble the country is facing, by scattering across the globe to different countries.
‘’The crashing economy was an even stronger push for us to renew our focus and multiply our efforts to rise to the challenge. Every poster and every bracelet we sell makes a huge difference not only for the artists we represent but also for the NGOs we are raising funds for. We made a conscious effort to reconnect with the global Lebanese diaspora to be part of the Dikkéni story; one that supports Lebanon in everything it does. The ambition for Dikkeni is much bigger and continuously growing. We know the talent our country nurtures is one that would be appreciated by many of our non-Lebanese friends around the world. Slowly but surely, we are increasing our base within this market.’’
Dikkeni is truly thinking the right way by seeking outside support, especially in a time when conversations are being had across the world about different countries with different issues that need, not only to be addressed daily, but to transition into showing immediate support in whatever way possible: donations, bringing awareness or supporting international businesses. It’s a lovely and comforting fact to see that many non-Lebanese showing support, as well as the Lebanese diaspora, who doesn’t miss a chance to encourage and contribute to these plans of action and help Lebanon during these tough times.
Lebanon, while having its issues, has its beauty as well. That’s why a business like Dikkéni was born because new life can give new hope. To just give up on it would be completely ignoring what it used to be and what it still can be, even in the midst of all this chaos.
‘’There is no turning back. Our passion for both our country and its talent inspires all that we do. Together, we decided to embark on one of the most fulfilling and rewarding journeys we have taken in both our personal and professional lives. Together we will find many ways to support the Lebanese grown talent. They deserve our time, focus and energy; and we will deliver.’’
It’s all about making sure that giving up isn’t an option and whatever steps are taken to try to put Lebanon back on its feet, remain.
Cover Image / “Lovers in times of revolution” by Omar Sfeir, Illustration Adra Kandil
Support Lebanese NGOs and artists by shopping on Dikkéni, right here
"The Dikkéni team would love to thank its partners without whom the first collection wouldn't have been possible: Pope Of Hope by Matisse Events, Bokja, Sarah's Bag and Nada Zeineh"