Arts

Sculpture

Rashid Girgis Semaan

was the oldest son of Girgis Semaan Semaan and Hanni Hanna Talj. He was born, July 14, 1924 in Miye ou Miye, Lebanon. He had two brothers Fuad and bahij, and one sister, Saada. Rashid died on March 21, 1988, in a small village called Kafarhouna, Jezzine; and was buried there next to his mother, away from his home village, a stranger in his own country.

Rashid’s talent in painting and sculpturing appeared early in his childhood, where he used to visit the prairies in Miye ou Miye; watch the nature’s beauty, contemplate, and dream. He would search the grounds for small pieces of rocks and stones; he would work on them with his small knife, shaping them into birds, or other small animals, coloring them with colors extracted from the nature’s beauty of Miye ou Miye abundant landscape.

He studied at Miye ou Miye elementary school by teachers such as Boutros Wakim and Michael Simaan. In his teen age years, he moved to Beirut and studied at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts, which was owned by Mr. Alexi Boutros. There, he studied painting and sculpturing under the supervision and tutelage of a Hungarian teacher by the name of Georges Gash, and an Italian teacher named Manati. He excelled and mastered sculpture art, and rose to the top of the class earning reputation and fame in the esteemed academy. He made such an impression on his teacher Mr. Gash who told him one day:

“In the future, you will become a great artist, and if you ever study in Europe, do not come back to Lebanon, because artists in Lebanon are neither recognized nor appreciated”

Besides his concentration on painting and sculpturing, Rashid studied and read for great poets and artists, such as Gibran Khalil Gibran, Michael Angelo, and Leonardo da Vinci. In 1956, with the help of his Italian friend engineer Piradzi, Rashid got a scholarship to study in Italy, so he went to Rome, and joined a well-known arts academy for 5 years, where he graduated with honors. He participated in several art fairs in Europe, where he distinguished himself and was well recognized and appreciated for his work. In a New York arts fair, he earned the first prize for his art work sculpture titled “Lovers”.

While in Italy, Rashid met and fell in love with a European lady named Marian Orasko . He gave her as a gift, his greatest famous work, the “Lovers” sculpture. Marian treasured the sculpture, and displayed it in the middle of her home in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Rashid came back to Lebanon in 1960, where he wanted to serve his country as a professor at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts, but the dean of the university refused to allow that, because Rashid did not have the right connections, or as we say in Arabic: “Wasta”. Rashid was very upset and shocked by the dean’s behavior. Feeling humiliated by that incident that shattered his dreams, disillusioned by the politics of the day, he retreated to a life of solitude and work.

So Rashid came back to his hometown Miye ou Miye, where he enjoyed nature, trees, and the village. He worked independently, producing masterful art pieces in the town that he loved.

In 1985, the Lebanese civil war destroyed all his work, his sculptures, paintings, and displaced him along with all Miye ou Miye residents. All his dreams were destroyed once again. So he lived displaced, sad and broke in a country that does not have any value or appreciation for such genius. It proved that the words of his teacher were prophetic.

Rashid also mastered the art of painting, and wrote poetry as well. Unfortunately, all his works were lost during the civil war in Lebanon.

Nonetheless, Rashid, left a legacy that still resides throughout Lebanon: at the UNESCO Palace, Beirut; At the Carlton Hotel, at the Sursok Museum and Gardens; in various governmental buildings, his work lives at some Lebanese houses, streets, and towns, such as Maarouf Saad sculpture at the Southern entrance of the city of Sidon. A sculpture for Egyptian president Jamal Abdel Nasser in the village of Barja adorns the town square. The most notable of all are the sculptures titled “Motherhood” and the “The Thailandian Lady” in Rome.

More than 60 masterpieces artistic sculptures were designed and sculpted by Rashid the artist, but the war does not discriminate and destroys equally. The war squanders treasures and decimates people. No one knows where those sculptures ended up. Rashid, the legend artist, the child hearted, the great magic maker, was lost in a world of mayhem, ruin, and destruction. Yet he died the way he was born, a rebel with a cause much like his idol Gibran Khalil Gibran, died a stranger in his own country.

George Elias Abu Elia


Poetry

Mounif Salem Moussa

Mounif Salem Moussa, PhD, born on March 15, 1940, in the village of Miye ou Miye, Southern Lebanon. He is a critic, a researcher]], a [poet] and a sculpturist. He participated in many sculpting and fine art events, conferences, seminars, literary and academic, where he displayed and sold some of his work. He has published a lot of literary and poetic compositions that drew a large number of fans. He gradually, transitioned into academic writing and poetry. He is considered a criticizer, researcher and a poet, interested in literary and critical studies. He has assumed the post of Professor of Faculty of Arts at the Lebanese University, Al Fanar, until retirement on March 15, 2004. He is still active and moves between Beirut and his hometown Miye ou Miye.

Dr. Mounif, attained his first studies at Saint Georges Catholic Church in the village of Miye ou Miye. He attended public school, where he learned the principles of reading and shortly after that, he decided to take two years break from school. He returned to the Episcopal school in Ablah, Bekaa Valley, for a couple of years. Afterwards, he transferred to the public school in Miye ou Miye. He received the certificate of "brevet" from Sidon Middle School, where there he helped in writing at the school magazine. In 1958, he transferred to Sidon High School. At that point, he began writing literary essays in literary magazines and newspapers. Also, he earned two certificates in Bible study.

In 1959, he quit school and joined the volunteers in the Lebanese Air Force for almost three years, 1959-1961. He returned to continue his studies at the Teachers Association in Sidon to prepare him to become a teacher. After he attained his degree from the Teachers Association, he went on to teach formally. He took six years break from teaching and focused on sculpting and participated in many modern art conventions. He returned to school and obtained a degree in Arabic Literature. He entered college and obtained two degrees from the Lebanese University at Beirut: Bachelor of Arts in Arabic Language and Literature; and Masters in Contemporary Literature. He went on to obtain two additional degrees from Saint Joseph University at Beirut: Doctorate in Modern Literature and Post Doctorate in Comparative Literary Criticism.


He taught at the Lebanese University and many private universities. He was promoted to a professor at the Lebanese University under Presidential Decree No. 2443. During the Lebanese civil war he lost his private library of six thousand books, when his house got burned. He retired at the legal age, and was given the title [[professor emeritus]] by the Lebanese University. He continuous to get involved in overlooking the doctoral dissertations and theses for graduate students.

Poetry

  • Lenny 1965
  • Lover from Lebanon
  • The rhythms of love
  • Court prose of the Court of Arab modern poetry
  • El Jahaz in his life, thought and literature
  • Ameen Rihani in his life, thought and literature
  • The heritage, originality and Gibran
  • The view of poetry from the perspective of poetic critics.
  • Slieman El-Boustani in his life, thought and literature
  • Chapters of Literature Book
  • Mohammed Fetouri poet of nationality emotions and love
  • Poetry and criticism
  • Tree of criticism

Dr. Mounif, participated in conferences and seminars and numerous scientific academy in Lebanon and abroad.

He went on televised broadcasts and mentioned in the print media. He was honored, and written about in the following newspapers and magazines just to mention a few:

Al Nahar, El Dyar, El Sayad, El Anwar, El Hawadth, El Esboua El Arabi, El Hasna, El Asboua El Thaqafi, Homus, Halyat, Book of Arabs in Eloquence and Literature by Rabia Abu-Fadil.


Art

Youhanna Shakeeb Bousaba

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