Jamil MolaebFollow Artist
The Early Life of Jamil Molaeb:
Jamil Molaeb is a multi-media Lebanese artist who was born in 1948 in the Aley District of Baissour, Chouf. His talent was evident early on when, in 1967, he won third prize in sculpture at the Sursock Museum’s 7th Salon, aged just 18.
Molaeb studied Fine Arts at the Lebanese University in Beirut, under the tuition of some of Lebanon’s best-known Modernists, including Paul Guiragossian and Shafic Abboud, where he gained a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. He then travelled to Algeria to further his studies at L’École Nationale des Beaux-Arts, having been awarded a scholarship from the Algerian government to do so. Here, he specialised in human anatomy and figurative art, while also coming across several influential factors including ancient Near-Eastern, Egyptian, Islamic and African art, which he added to the Western techniques he learned.
Molaeb then moved to the US to further his studies at the Pratt Institute in New York City, enrolling in the Master of Fine Arts programme there, before also attending Ohio State University, where he gained a doctorate in Artistic Education. He then returned to Lebanon.
The Artistic Approach of Jamil Molaeb:
Jamil Molaeb’s oeuvre is wide-ranging and varied, spanning painting, drawings, mosaics, stone sculptures and woodcuts. He also adopts a free approach in his work, creating abstract, minimalist compositions of geometric shapes in vibrant colours on large canvases, alongside nudes and village scenes with a folkloric feel. Subjects in his depictions of village life include workers toiling in fields and celebratory occasions, such as weddings, in a sign of the passion Molaeb has for his heritage. He also uses an expansive palette of colour to bring life to his subjects, from the multitude of blues and greys of the sea to rich tapestries of the field.
In a reminder that he also makes mosaics, Jamil Molaeb also often brings fragmented elements into his canvases. Miniatures, symbols and icons are focal points, plucked from their usual order or structure and given a new, independent lease of life on canvas, sometimes scattered, almost aerial-like in view, in a way that recalls pop art. Recurrent motifs in his work range from birds and fruit to women and children. In his woodcuts, meanwhile, Molaeb harks back to 500-year-old traditional, manual Italian techniques that require skill, patience and concentration, with both the writing and carving gestures recalling ancient rituals and artistic practices.
Jamil Molaeb’s Academic Career:
Molaeb worked as an art professor at the Institute of Fine Art at the Lebanese University until 2012. From 1993 to 1999, he also taught art at the Lebanese American University in Beirut.
Jamil Molaeb’s Exhibitions and Legacy:
His work has been extensively exhibited worldwide, showcased in solo exhibitions in Lebanon, including the Rebirth exhibition at Beirut Exhibition Center in 2011, Algeria, France, Switzerland and the US, among other countries. It has also featured in numerous collectives and several art fairs, including at Art Abu Dhabi, Beirut Art Fair, Art Dubai, Art14 London and La Biennale de Lyon.
Molaeb’s art is held in prestigious public and private collections, including The World Bank in Washington DC, Gropius Bau Museum in Berlin and the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris.
Molaeb’s work is permanently on show at Galerie Janine Rubeiz and his own space – the Jamil Molaeb Museum in Baissour.
- - 2017 in Galerie Janine Rubeiz / Beirut / Lebanon
- Rebirth - 2011 in Beirut Exhibition Center / Beirut / Lebanon
- Brushes for feathers - 2006 in Sursock Museum / Beirut / Lebanon
- The World Bank - in Washington DC / USA
- Sursock Museum - 2019 in Beirut / Lebanon
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