A leading expert in modern and contemporary art from the Arab world, Saleh Barakat founded Agial Art Gallery in 1991 and Saleh Barakat Gallery in 2016 in Beirut. Throughout his career, he participated in building some major collections of modern and contemporary Arab art (Mathaf – Qatar, Kinda Foundation – KSA, Saradar Foundation Lebanon) and introduced many Arab artists to major international museums like the Tate Modern in London, Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Possessing a strong business background in addition to his experience in the arts, Barakat has been engaged in developing a healthy market environment for creative expression in the Arab world. He curated several pan-Arab exhibitions, including the IXth Francophone Summit in Beirut, the 2003 World Bank Summit in Dubai and “The Road to Peace: Painting in Times of War 1975-1991” at the Beirut Art Center in 2009.
His recent focus is to develop Beirut as a cultural incubator for the Levant region. He served on the steering committee of the Arts Center at the American University of Beirut and as a member of the Advisory Council of the School of Architecture and Design at the Lebanese American University. He has been a board member of the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO since 2014. He was nominated as a Yale World Fellow in 2006.