In Lebaa, that village located in South Lebanon, a love story between a young couple was born. The love blossomed over time and the two got married in 1974. The couple were my parents Elias and Rosette; my sisters Roula and Rita, and my brother Ghazy and I were the fruit of this marriage.
In 1977, I was born in that special town where I have so many beautiful memories; they are images from long time ago, but which have left impressions and feelings that will remain engraved in my heart.
I can remember how I used to play with my brother and sisters in the vicinity of our home and how much I was influenced by the nature and soil of the place.
I also remember my school days, especially the painting courses that I would wait for, once a week, as well as the good grades that I would usually obtain.
I can never forget the childishness moments spent with friends and how my grandfather used to punish us when we messed up the garden . God rest his beloved soul!
I remember the stories that my grandmothers used to tell us. I remember the train that Dad gave me as present and how happy I was when it began to twist around me, not to mention the other so many unforgettable toys. The beautiful places with its toys are gone but not their sweet memory; the childhood has passed, but the child remains; the village is left but not the nostalgia.
In 1985, we were forced to leave our village because of the war. They managed to take me from my town but they couldn’t take the memories from my mind.
Beirut, the City. 1986
I abandon living my childhood in Beirut; I left behind the world of children to become a young man so I turned to my pen and paintbrush at the age of nine. Toys, at that time, didn’t mean so much to me; I grew up at an early age and my dreams started to grow with me. Painting was more than a friend; it was my refuge in a time of war. My love for this talent was steadily growing and I was in a race with my ambition. I realized at that time that I stepped into my new world, the world of big dreams.
In my spare time, I used to paint and create until the day the war broke out, with its cruelty and ugliness. Due to this war, I escaped with my family in 1990 to the village of Roum, in the district of Jezzine, where I resided and painted scenes of war drawn from my imagination and from the news that would circulate by word of mouth. I realized then that the word “artist,” which many people had used to call me since my early years, would become a reality.
Afterward I returned to the ruined capital of Beirut and to our home, which had been destroyed. But my father set about restoring what the war had damaged.
In 1991, it was time to go back to my village, Lebaa. I returned at the age of 14 and I had for always dreamt of this homecoming. The dream became a reality but I returned to find my own town destroyed, shattered, defeated, while I had always wanted it to be strong, joyful, and beautiful.
I realized more than ever the ugliness of war and became more determined to sow the beauty and the creativity that might help erase the scenes of destruction.
The large numbers of exhibitions I have taken part in, along with media appearances and numerous other artistic activities, have helped me become totally affiliated with the world of art. As a result, I decided to hone my skills by entering the Academy of Michaelange, receiving a diploma in Plastic Art (in 2001). Afterward, I continued to gain knowledge in specialized studies in art and I have treated various themes in my works as well.
One who is born in Lebanon, this ancient land, must certainly be impressed by its captivating scenery, and this impact must certainly be reflected in his notions and aspirations. The country’s pluralism enriches a person’s soul and widens his horizons, giving rise to a sophisticated people and producing a country that is a pioneer in intellectual and creative fields as well as in various domains.
One who paints Lebanon must pray from his depths and seek perfection and idealism in his life. He must take this arduous road and understand that God has created man on His image, in His likeness.
By pursuing the path of perfection, we must learn patriotism and appreciate this great value, while remembering the saying of Gibran Khalil Gibran:
“If Lebanon were not my country, I would have chosen Lebanon to be my country”.
We must exhibit a lofty respect for this Lebanon, which has given birth to intellects, creative achievements, and the love of country. We should moreover fight for art and culture in order to see it return to a strong Lebanon.
I have loved this country, the land and its people; I have loved this embrace between the female Beirut, the daughter of glory and the pearl of East, and Lebanon’s mighty men, those high mountains all around, the sea of hope and the bright future shining ahead, and her sisters Byblos, Tripoli, Sidon and Tyre alongside.
I have drawn you, Lebanon, mountain and sea; I have drawn your ancient houses and archeological sites, and my paintbrush will remain loyal since I will keep painting you as long as I breathe. You will always be that shore where my artistic ship anchors and I will make every effort to be one of your lit candles, chasing away the darkness that seeks to drown you.
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