Gibran visits Beirut
Located along Gemmayzeh's picturesque St. Nicolas steps at Achrafieh - Beirut, radiating the rustic appeal of the historic houses that surround it, though just a stone's throw away from the vibrations of the city, the Laboratoire d'Art in collaboration with the Gibran National Committee hosted seven of Gibran Khalil Gibran's original paintings.
According to Dr. Chidiac the event was "unprecedented in Beirut" "it is addressed to the youth who needs to be touched and influenced by Gibran's message of love, peace, compassion and faith in the human race especially that we live in a world filled with hate, conflicts, war and personal interests."
"Gibran, as we now know him, never found a home in Beirut," explains Samaha owner of the Laboratoire d'Art, "He left Lebanon through the port of Tripoli, and shortly visited Beirut as a student and not as an artist or a scholar. His corpse was brought from abroad only to stay briefly in Beirut before it was carried up to his home town, Bsharreh."
Yet, according to Dr. Chidiac, it was unconquerable to bring Gibran's works to the city, where people have become too materialistic, so engrossed in the city's vigor that they have lost touch with their spirituality.
Perceiving this air of the bleak depersonalization, it was decided to remind the people that they should not reduce their lives to business but to "return to their spirituality.
And this was achieved by holding an exhibit for Gibran, whose works are full of God's spirit, in the ill-infected city."
He added that the works on display have been devised in three distinct media – watercolors, charcoal and pencil. Their selection was not haphazard, but was made to fall in line with the purpose of the exhibition. For instance, the portrait of "Sultana Tabet," is reminiscent of Gibran's rejection of materialism. Though he fell in love with her, he refused to accept her father's condition that he must take on a ministerial position in order to marry his daughter.
The exhibition was inaugurated on September 2, 2010 under the patronage of the Minister of Culture H. E. Mr. Salim Wardeh who came specially to witness the arrival of the paintings.
Artist Jahihda Wehbeh, the Lebanese tarab singer, commenced the first day by reading and singing excerpts of Gibran's poetry.
The opening ceremony was a great success; some 400 people flocked to the steps to watch that evening's performance, while visitors took it in shifts to enter the gallery in groups of 10 to see the paintings. Other events were scheduled alongside the month-long exhibition. MTV's Walid Abboud broadcasted his program "live" from the steps on September 16 on the occasion only, the show's theme was Gibran's poem "You have your Lebanon and I have mine" It included an interview with Dr. Tarek Chidiac the Gibran National Committee's President. The program featured also contributions from journalists and other figures, who gathered to discuss the current status of freedom in Lebanon.
Lebanese-Italian violinist Mario al-Rahi and Lebanese guitarist Rami Hanna held a music recital on September 23rd.
The first two days of October embraced amateur artists, art-lovers and children gathered at the steps with their sketch books or canvases in hand to participate in a two-day public art experiment entitled "Ayyam min wahi Gibran Khalil Gibran" (Days from Gibran's inspiration). This event began at 3:30 pm on October 1st and continued until the next day.
The events came to an official close on October 3rd, with a closing ceremony, during which awards for the three best paintings were distributed.
Gibran's paintings then returned to their home in the Bsharreh Museum, taking with them their very own imprint of the Lebanese capital and possibly leaving an impression on city-dwellers as well.
1- Evocation of "Sultan Tabet":
Deceased around 1901 – 1908, charcoal, 58.5x32.2 cm, dated lower
right: May 1908
2- Portrait of "Khalil Gibran":
1909-1910, oil on canvas, 41x43 cm
3- Portrait of "May Ziadeh":
1920-1921, charcoal, 28x22 cm, not signed, not dated
4- "Two Faces":
1923, Charcoal, 51x54, 8 cm, signed and dated lower right: khalil Gibran
5- "Balance of the Absolute":
1918, pencil, 28x21 cm, signed lower right: Gibran
6- "Dance and Rhythm":
1920-1923, watercolor, 24,5x20 cm, not signed, not dated
7- "The Ethereal Aending a Message to Man":
1920-1923, watercolor, 33x24 cm, signed lower left: Gibran