Impressions on Gibran Khalil Gibran Exhibition
"Drawings of Gibran: A Humane Perspective" at the Sharjah Art Museum
07 Oct 2015 - 10 Dec 2015
by Iman Shaggag
I was lucky enough to be at the opening of Gibran Khalil Gibran's exhibition, at the Sharjah Art Museum, the exhibition ran from October 7th through December 10th, 2015. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, I visited more than ten times and did manage to bring many of my students and friends as well, it felt like once in a life time encounter.
Entering the exhibition you will immediately feel the poet's presence, especially if you read Gibran Khalil Gibran's poetry and know his writings. His paintings tells a lot about him, you see his gentle soul, love for life, his anguish, loneliness and vulnerability. The exhibition is well put together in terms of information, layout, and selection of artwork, including some of his manuscripts, letters, postcards and note books. I say that even though, it kept me hanging and wanting to see more of his artwork.
Getting to the last section of the exhibition, a big screen greets the visitors, running continuously a video which was created in 2009 by Gibran National Committee the organizer of the exhibition. The video is about Gibran's museum which holds 440 of his original paintings, in his home town Bsharreh in Lebanon. The video gives an opportunity to see more of his artwork, as well as, his childhood surroundings which present a deeper understanding of his pondering nature.
Looking at his paintings and drawings compared to his writings, in my opinion, reading his writings he seems like an old soul, showing us how to cope with life. It's a slightly different story when you contemplate his paintings, you see his playful side, you see him trying and experimenting with ideas and materials. I imagine that, he used painting and drawing as a way of escaping the pressing need to write! It is understandable that writing require the power of the left side of the brain, which is known for it's verbal and analytic power. On the other hand, painting and drawing require the power of the right side of the brain, which analyzes information in silent, visual, perceptual and intuitive manner. I think a writer in his capacity, needed a space for some peace and quite, and toke refuge in painting and drawing. It is not a rare thing, many poets and writers through out history toke to visual art, like the poet Sylvia Plath she had beautiful pen & ink drawings, or paintings & prints done by Henry Miller.
The exhibition brought much needed light to an important part of Gibran's life. To me personally, it brought loving memories of my first encounter with his writings, as well as getting in touch, through his artwork with his gentle, sensitive and observant nature. Looking at Gibran's artwork, I see him observing life from different angles, showing us our vulnerability, our loneliness even if we are surrounded by a sea of people! He was searching (his search is still valid today!) for something, by investigating every emotion, absorbing and documenting all that, was his way to understand the human condition.