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Grammy-nominated artist Simon Shaheen playing Gibran opening at HMOA

Oct. 21, 2013 @ 04:22 PM

   HUNTINGTON - The Huntington Museum of Art, in an exclusive partnership with the Telfair Museums in Savannah, Ga., presents the exhibit, “Visions of The Prophet: The Visual Art of Kahlil Gibran” from Nov. 2 through Feb. 9.

 The opening reception takes place at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, with a concert by Grammy nominated musician Simon Shaheen. A reception follows. Admission is free. Auditorium seating for the concert is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

  The exhibit of works by the Lebanese-born, visionary artist and writer Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) includes 96 drawings, watercolors, and paintings. Beloved worldwide for his writings, his visual art is less known, ironic since it was visual art that he pursued first. Gibran is best known for his book titled The Prophet, a collection of 26 philosophical essays that became one of the top-selling books of the twentieth century. Since it was first published in 1923, The Prophet has never been out of print, and has been translated into 40 languages. The book was especially popular during the counterculture movement of the 1960s.

  The November Tuesday Tour at HMA takes place at 7 p.m. Nov. 26, with a Gallery Walk led by professors  Clay McNearney and Jeff Rush, both of Marshall University's Department of Religious Studies. McNearney’s remarks will focus on placing Gibran within the realm of the religious world of the time and Rush will focus on Gibran’s specific mysticism. 

  Inspired by painters from the Renaissance, the Pre-Raphaelites, the French Symbolists, and others, such as visionary William Blake, Gibran sought to express symbolic ideas about life, humanity, and the interconnectedness of all things in his own unique way. These works span his career and include early works from his first exhibition at photographer Fred Holland Day’s studio in Boston in 1904, to works created during the last years of his life, including six works used as illustrations in his last book The Garden of the Prophet.  All the pieces on view come from the personal collection of Gibran’s patron Mary Haskell who donated her collection to the Telfair Museums in 1950. They provide a survey of Gibran’s career as a visual artist, document his relationship with Mary Haskell, and substantiate his literary career with examples of several drawings and watercolors used as illustrations for six of his English-written books. The exhibit also includes self-portraits by Gibran, an early oil portrait of Gibran by Lilla Cabot Perry and photographs of Gibran and his New York studio.

Tania Sammons, Curator at the Telfair Museums, and organizer of this exhibit has written extensively about Mary Haskell and Kahlil Gibran. She writes the following about the work of Gibran, “Through oil, watercolor, pencil, pen, pastel, gouache, or some variation thereof, Gibran sought to evoke the essence of life. He wanted to elevate humanity through his work and share his ideas about the connectedness of all things. He wanted to inspire and stretch the imaginations of his audiences, if they so choose to be open to his message of oneness. In his visual work and his writing, Gibran provided a first step into a spiritual understanding of life.”

The exhibit will be accompanied by a catalogue with essays by Tania Sammons and Dr. Suheil Bushrui, the University of Maryland’s George and Lisa Zakhem Kahlil Gibran Chair for Values and Peace.

This exhibit is ponsored by Jean E. Ripley; American Task Force for Lebanon; Joseph Assaley and Renee Domanico; The Edmund George Family; Dr. & Mrs. Lee C. Haikal; George and Gloria Hanna; The Herald-Dispatch; Kfeirian Reunion Foundation, Inc.; Margaret Mary Layne in Memory of Tom Sadler; Melanie Mansour in Memory of Michael Mansour; Marshall University Division of Multicultural Affairs; Edward M. Rahal; Dr. Richard and Eleanor Rashid; Mr. and Mrs. Andrew K. Teeter; Joseph and Omayma Touma; Larry and Cheryl Tweel in Memory of James A. Tweel and in Honor of Sally R. Tweel; West Virginia Division of Culture and History; & National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

This program is presented with support from the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts.

For more information on events at HMA, visit www.hmoa.org or call (304) 529-2701. HMA is fully accessible.