The art spirit and creativity between Gibran Khalil Gibran and Said Elatab

Ghazi Imam

2023 / 3 / 7

In the late nineteenth century, Sigmund Freud described "reincarnation" as a process, in which the soul resorts to integrate within the motives, -dir-ections and characteristics of another person...
Reincarnation, is also known as a psychological process through which an individual imitates and follows the footsteps of the person, who has been reincarnated with, through many aspects, characteristics, and features that distinguish the other person, and it is transformed, in whole´-or-in part, by that model of the other person presents.
Here, in this article, I try to review what the artist Said Elatab, unwillingly, has gained as aspects, features, and characteristics that distinguished Gibran Khalil Gibran....
I focus here on two important aspects, which are his life biography, his suffering, his migration, and the role of women that has impacted Said Elatab creativity, and outburst genius aspects lurking in the depths of his soul.
Gibran Khalil Gibran was born on January 6, 1883, in the village of “Bushra” in Lebanon. He was a poet, writer, philosopher, painter, fine artist, and sculptor.
Gibran was eleven years old, when he inclined to draw pictures, he started to draw on walls, after that he was taken as a child to the ruins of Baalbek castle north of Lebanon.
Baalbek castle is the most wonderful ruins in the world, and he began to draw it in a notebook he carried. This stage heralded the birth of a talent that drew the attention of his teachers, and his father, who viewed his son s hobby as "a foolish hobby" that hinders him from growing strong and healthy.
From an early age, Said Elatab, who was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, had witnessed the worst period that Lebanon went through in terms of sectarian fight, and then the displacement of the Palestinians from Jordan after the massacres of Black September, as well as the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon and Beirut. For Said Elatab, drawing became a tool for expressing his feelings and suffering, which were portrayed by the lenses of his eyes before his brush, to reflect a mixture of pigmented colors in red and black.
As for the painter Said Elatab, drawing and art was driven by the hardship of living and the harsh conditions of life he found himself and his family in, such as displacement, wars, living under the sounds of bullets, shelling and bombardment by artillery and aircraft, and then running their life to shelters and refugees camps.
This situation was not an easy matter for a young man, who had beautiful rosy dreams, just like his peers in another civilized world.
If we looked a little closer at the drawings of Said Elatab and Gibran Khalil Gibran, we would find a common denominator between them, as their paintings represent a human epic of pain and torment.
In most of his drawings and paintings, Said Elatab dealt with human faces and monitored its sufferings, pain, depression, love and joy to be in a group of expressive works with a sad tendency.
Said showed daring and artistic ingenuity, in employing the plastic element in favor of human expression, destroying the traditional form, and rebuilding it with spontaneous affection and a childlike feeling, Gibran Khalil Gibran did the same before him.
In the last stage of his artistic life, Gibran tended towards the symbolist -dir-ection. He did not stop at the realistic´-or-the reasonable, but rather looked behind them.... Gibran as an artist does not see the sun as a ball of fire, but rather he sees it as a choir chanting songs of love, and singing praises to God..
Gibran, in his symbolic view, is similar to the artist Said Elatab, who also views life as a stage in which people play different roles, before the curtains are brought down on them.... so that each of them would leave two feelings, either sorrow´-or-joy.
Women had a major role in the life of Gibran Khalil Gibran, and even played a role in the formation of his intellectual and artistic personality, and this was evident in all of his writings.
Gibran Khalil Gibran had many romantic relationships, the most prominent of which was with Josephine Peabody, Hala Al-Zaher, Sultana Thabet, Mary Haskell, Emily Michel, Charlotte Tyler, Mary Kahwaji, Mary Khoury, Getrid Barry, Barbara Young, Marietta Lawson, Helena Ghostine, and May Ziada.
Women also played a major role in the life and career of the artist Said Elatab, and here I must mention that the artist Saeed Elatab married more than once, and had many children, but fate did not leave him alone, when he lost his young child by cancer, and his young daughter was murdered in a tragic and horrific way.
Those tragic events had a great influence on his delicate personality and feelings.
It has powerfully affected most of his drawings, colors and paintings, expressing his deep pain. "life is a source of pain.
When it comes to the concept of love, Said Elatab has a different opinion and special definition of ¨Love¨.
Love for Said Elatab got strict rules to be followed, as he considers himself familiar with these rules of love.
Said considers a lady should be treated like an orchid flower, which means in his definition "should be given the right care, watering, lighting, and enough warmth in order to remain lush, radiant, and beautiful"...and the opposite of that will make her wither quickly and die..
Gibran and Said Elatab expressed a lot about their emotional division within themselves between USA and Lebanon. Gibran said, "The soul of my village, Bushra, has never left me. They said that my paintings exude pain. Pain is the greater truth than pleasure. and life, in the end, is a source of pain."
As for Saeed Elatab, he expressed his emotional division, by saying that “ I live and half of my life is here in America, while the other half of me is there in my beloved Beirut.. inside the Cedars of wish after my death is to be buried in the beloved soil of Lebanon.
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