Mieh w Mieh - Sculpture: Rashid Semaan

He is the sun of Girgis Simaan Simaan and Hanni Hanna Talj. He was born in Mieh w Mieh, 14th of July 1924. He was the older of his brothers and sisters, Souad, Bahij and Fouad.

He was talented since his childhood in painting and sculpturing, where he used to visit the prairies in Mieh w Mieh, watch, contemplate, and dream, looking and searching for small pieces of rocks and stones, worked on them with his small knife, forming a bird, or other small animals, colouring it by colours extracted from the beauty of the nature in Mieh w Mieh.

He studied in Mieh w Mieh elementary school by teachers such as Boutros Wakim and Michael Simaan. In his youthful age, he moved to Beirut and studied in the Lebanese Art Academy, which was owned by Mr. Alexi Boutros. There he studied painting and sculpturing under the supervision of a Hungarian teacher, Mr. Georges Gash, and the Italian teacher Manati. He mastered sculpture art, and became famous in the academy, where his teacher Mr. Gash told him one day:  

In the future, you will become a great artist, and in case you will study in Europe, do not come back to Lebanon, because in Lebanon, artists arte not well recognized or 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 from Italy, thus he went to Rome, and joined the Superior Art academy for 5 years, where he graduated with honours. He contributed in several art conventions in Europe, and was well recognized and designated for his work. In a New York art convention, he got the first prize for his art work sculpture named “Lovers”.

While in Italy, Rashid knew a European girl named “Marian Orasko”, and he was in love with her, and he gave her as a gift his greatest famous work, the “Lovers” sculpture. Marian took the sculpture, and put it in the middle of her home in Lozan, Switzerland.

Rashid came back to Lebanon in 1960, where he wanted to serve his country by teaching the art in the Lebanese academy for fine arts, but the dean of the university refused to allow that, because Rashid did not have the necessary channels, or as we say in Arabic: “Wasta”. Because of that, believing in his talent and not being appreciated, Rashid was very upset and shocked by the dean behaviour.

So Rashid came back to his home town Mieh w Mieh, where he enjoyed the nature, the trees, the village, and he started to work on his own, making a lot of great art works.

In 1984, the war destroyed all his work, his sculptures, paintings, and displaced him along with all Mieh w Mieh residents. All his dreams were destroyed once again, so he lived displaced, sad and poor, in a country that does not have any values for such genius.

Rashid died in March 21st, 1988, in a village called Kafarhouna, in Jizzine area, and he was buried there next to his mother, away from his village, and a stranger in his own country.

Besides the sculpture art, Rashid also mastered painting, and writing poems, where he wrote a lot of poems, but unfortunately were lost during the war. He also contributed to several conventions in Europe and the USA, as well as in Lebanon, in the Onesko Palace, Carlton Hotel, and Sursok museum and gardens. Lot of his sculpture are still in several governmental places, and Lebanese houses, streets, and towns, such as Maarouf Saad sculpture in the city of Saida, and a sculpture for Egyptian president Jamal Abdel Naser in the village of Barja, and the sculpture of “The Mother” and the “The Thailandian Lady” in Rome.

More than 60 gorgeous sculptures were designed and prepared by Rashid, but because of the war, no one knows where those sculptures are. Rashid, this child hearted great artist, has suffered a lot. In several occasions, he felt stranger in his country.

This artist that mastered love in his art and poetry, was missing the love of his own country for him, because he was honest, and did not know how to lie and cheat, in order to get and reach higher positions. 

Story edited by Dr. Mounif Moussa, and was taken out of the Mieh w Mieh magazine “Olive Branches”, dated December 25, 2000.

 Translated to English by Charles Bou Saba.

Mieh w Mieh

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