Rashid Girgis Semaan was the oldest son of Girgis Semaan Semaan and Hanni Hanna Talj. He was born in Miye ou Miye, July 14, 1924. He had two brothers Fuad and bahij, and one sister, Saada .
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 in 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, 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:
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 art 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 Art 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”. Chagrined by that incident that shattered his dreams, disillusioned by the politics of the day, he retreated to a life of solitude and work. Rashid was very upset and shocked by the dean’s behavior.
So Rashid came back to his hometown Miye ou Miye, where he enjoyed nature, trees, and the village. He started to work on his own, producing his masterful art in the town 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.