Honoring Chaouki Chamoun
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July 4, 2012—
LAU raised a toast on June 22 to celebrate the life’s work of Chaouki Chamoun, renowned painter and coordinator of LAU’s fine arts program. The artist’s contribution to LAU was feted with live music and the presentation of a recognition shield from LAU president Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra.
Jabbra described Chamoun’s artistic outlook as both poignant and profound, and said his stature has served to elevate the prominent Lebanese art scene.
He also praised the artist’s broad vision, universal appeal and ability to transcend fractured communities through art. “Art is what keeps society civilized,” Jabbra concluded. “Thank you for your contribution to society, to LAU and to Lebanon.”
The characteristically modest Chamoun was visibly touched by the warm reception of family, colleagues and friends among whom were Lebanese artists and art gallery owners.
“I am honored to have received such recognition during my lifetime,” he said. “In Lebanon they usually host such events after an artist has passed away.”
Chamoun, who is president of the Lebanese Artists Association, expressed personal and collective gratitude for the role LAU plays in cultivating and promoting the work of Lebanese artists.
“I consider myself very lucky to have had the university’s support and encouragement,” he said.
Chamoun went on to underscore his respect for the role of educators in general, “Teachers play a vital role in sustaining an artist’s dream,” citing his childhood art teacher as a core influence in his own development.
LAU students fortunate enough to have been mentored by Chamoun in turn described him as a major source of creative and intellectual inspiration. Others said they hoped still to have the chance.
“His work speaks to you — you really see his passion for life in his work,” said artist and LAU student Liane Mathes Rabbath. “His presence at LAU has really increased the quality of art education.”
Dr. Elie Badr, interim dean of the School of Architecture and Design said Chamoun brought “a great deal of talent and life to the School of Architecture and Design.”
“One of my goals is one day to be able to afford one of his paintings,” Badr joked, eliciting laughter from the audience. One of Chamoun’s paintings was recently auctioned for $180,000 at the LAU gala dinner, with proceeds benefiting the university’s Endowment Scholarship Fund.
In addition to countless international and local solo exhibitions, Chamoun has led several high-profile architectural projects.
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