Sharjah Art Museum hosted an exhibition for the renowned Lebanese- American artist Gibran Khalil Gibran that showcases paintings, sketches, and manuscripts under the theme of “A Humane Perspective”.
My first encounter with Gibran Khalil Gibran was in my early teen years. I was travelling with my father and found Gibran’sThe Prophet in the hotel room we stayed in. It was one of those “unputdownable” books which speaks to your heart right away. I knew right then that this writer was not a conventional person. I connected with him as I felt he was blessed with so much wisdom and an incredible power of love.
I have always wondered why distinguished artists like Gibran are not given the recognition they deserve in the Arab world. Thankfully, I was proved wrong when I witnessed the reaction to a new exhibit of Gibran’s work.
Sharjah Art Museum is currently hosting an exhibition titled Gibran: A Humane Perspective. The exhibition consists of around 30 paintings, in addition to sketches and manuscripts, which revolve around the theme of humanity and love. The appreciation and turnout of visitors to the exhibition was wonderfully surprising. What I also loved was the duration of time which people spent admiring every work. Gibran’s work holds a captivating charm that pulls viewers and speaks to their souls, to take them on a whimsical journey. Gibran’s definition to art confirms this, “Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed. (Gibran)”
Most of the exhibited artworks at the museum are beautiful portraits of people who have left marks in Gibran’s life. All portraits were painted with the skill of a master, which are apparent in the radiant warm colors that give life to the paintings.
I found it very interesting that Gibran chose not to sign or date his paintings; he strongly believed in the power of his art and the ability of it to speak of its creator. He also believed that a painting is a product of thought, which shall not be limited to a certain timeframe.
Few people knew that Gibran was also a visual artist. It wasn’t a surprise for me, as I have always believed that people with the ability to “create beauty” aren’t curbed into a certain field. I also believe we were all blessed with a breath of God’s Spirit, and a person will choose to find a path to either make a difference and bring light into life or walk through life making no difference at all.
To me, Gibran is not only a person or an artist. Gibran is a way of life, a philosophy.
In the darkness in which we are surrounded by today, we need the glimpse of light that Gibran’s school of thought provides. It promotes love, kindness and compassion; and revokes all kinds of extortion.
After every encounter with art, I try to manifest what I came out with. Art is only as powerful as the reaction it creates. I have learned from Gibran’s exhibition the power of nature and silence, which is no surprise since Gibran spent many years in seclusion and appreciation of nature to be able to create a divine connection with the universe and its Creator. Gibran’s appreciation towards nature is evident in both his art and writings,” Art arises when the secret vision of the artist and the manifestation of nature agree to find new shapes.” (Gibran)
I have also been fascinated with the power of love and kindness, and the power of good intention, which only manifested in bringing numerous good people into Gibran’s life to assist him in his journey. Gibran’s life, though it was sadly short and difficult, was filled with so much beauty, light and wisdom.
May we all be blessed with the ability to recognize, create, and share beauty and light.
Through her column “stART”, Noora will be talking about the current art scene and trends in the local art community. She aims to inspire the local youth to start building the habit of visiting museums and art exhibitions. She strongly believes in the powerful role of art in creating a peaceful, tolerant, and culturally aware society.