LAU fine arts professor honored for his outstanding work
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May 18, 2009—
Since 1968, LAU Associate Professor Chaouki Chamoun has participated in over 50 art shows across the world including the Rochester Memorial Museum in New York and Art Paris Exhibit in Abu Dhabi.
The International Association of Lions Club–District 351 recognized him for his contribution to modern art in Lebanon at an event sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism early last month.
Chamoun, who teaches drawing and painting courses, was honored along with three other Lebanese artists: director and producer Said el Marouq, painter and sculptor Pierre Karam, and composer Jamal Abou el Hosn.
“We are here today to honor deserving artists who have given without limit to their country,” said Tourism Minister Elie Marouni.
“It gives me comfort and it feels nice to be appreciated,” said Chamoun. “We all love this tap on the back,” the absence of which would “mean I’m not reaching others,” he added.
A series of Chamoun’s paintings were showcased during the honoring ceremony in UNESCO Palace. The crowd enjoyed his modern approach in depicting images of women, as well as urban and rural life.
“His splendid art addresses humanity,” said Laudi el Khoury, president of the Lions’ National Creativity Committee. Chamoun knows “how to convey his feelings to the audience, and when we gaze at his paintings, we attain serenity,” she added.
“My job is to give the viewer something new rather than something he already knows,” Chamoun said.
In his website, Chamoun explains: “I am always in search for new aesthetic vocabulary in the making of my art. I do not believe that one single style or one single subject matter would ever express all my demanding aesthetic needs.”
When attending an exhibition of Western artists held in Hamra in the late 60s, Chamoun realized that the paintings differed from what he had encountered in books. “They were ahead and part of the future and I wanted to be part of” that, he said.
So, after completing his diploma of higher studies in painting at the Lebanese University in 1972, Chamoun went to the United States having received a six-year fellowship for graduate studies.
He received a master’s in fine arts from Syracuse University, New York, and a Ph.D. in art education from New York University.
Chamoun’s ultimate reason for going to New York was to spend some years in the SoHo district, which he describes as “the most important showcase in the world.”
He worked on architectural and interior design projects for such companies as Dress Barn and Saks Fifth Avenue Department Store in New York, and Bloomingdale’s Department Store in Minnesota.
But painting remained his thing. “There was nothing to stop me from painting every day,” he said.
Chamoun’s stay in the U.S. influenced his entire career path. “New York is something that will stay forever with me. If it wasn’t for New York, it wouldn’t have been me now,” he said.
However, the Arab world has also affected his work. Desert scenes in the United Arab Emirates inspired his latest 45 paintings, which he described as “out of this world.”
Chamoun doesn’t have a favorite artwork for he considers all his creations as the fruits of his hard work. “Saying which painting I prefer is the same as saying which one of my children is my favorite,” he explained.
“A painting that isn’t worth to carry my signature will never be out, [and] never be finished,” he added.
Chamoun’s success has been due to his different learning experiences. “If we stop learning, we stop growing,” he said, advising students to have excellence as their goal. “Life pays back only to successful people,” he added.
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