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  • Writer's picturePaul G. Chandler

Baba’s Art School – 101: #16

“You can’t begin too soon to encourage an appreciation of art! And each artwork has a story.”


Baba showing his grandkids "The Mystic" by Reda Abdel Rahman


It was a special joy for this Baba to introduce his grandkids to this numinous portrait by the noted Egyptian artist Reda Abdel Rahman of Kahlil Gibran, the early 20th century Lebanese born poet, artist and mystic, often best known as the author of the best-selling book “The Prophet.”

 

This particular painting was part of a CARAVAN exhibition we held at Sotheby’s in London titled “Kahlil Gibran: A Guide for Our Times” - see: www.oncaravan.org/kahlil-gibran. Kahlil Gibran was not only one of the most profound spiritual figures to have existed in the last century, but I see him as someone who is exceedingly relevant for us today.


More than ever, I think there is a need to hear voices that call us to unity and respect, and inspired to live deeply and be generous in our thinking and actions toward the “other” - whomever the “other” is. In this way, I believe Gibran can be an unparalleled spiritual guide for our times. Perhaps most importantly, his life, writings and art focus on spirituality as opposed to religion, and touch on a spiritual depth that so many hunger for.

 

Gibran often wrote of “growing into our greater selves,” and his own journey led him to an all-embracing spirituality that reached across the divides of humanity, building bridges of peace and harmony. He was a natural mystic who quite simply sought to build bridges and tear down walls.


As someone who was forever exploring the deepest of life’s questions, on the purpose of “being” he writes: “Spiritual awakening is the most essential thing in [a person’s] life, and it is the sole purpose of being.” Over time, a spirituality emerged within Gibran that transcended all cultures and religions.



Finding a way to powerfully communicate a non-sectarian version of spirituality was something that weighed heavily on him, and resulted in his most well-known book, “The Prophet,” first published in 1923. It is a book of prose poetry that espouses a spiritual philosophy that unites all faiths, cultures and peoples. It reflects the depth of Kahlil’s own spiritual journey, which led him to an extraordinary breadth of spirit in which he experienced the oneness of humanity, and which did not separate the spiritual dimension of life from the natural world, but rather saw the harmony of all of Creation.

 

Gibran’s spiritual journey of depth and breadth can’t help but challenge us today. His words continue to reverberate in hearts and souls, stirring the reader, the hearer, whoever he or she may be . . . to journey toward life’s deeper dimension that transcends all differences.


Kahlil Gibran


Commenting on his portrait of Kahlil Gibran, the artist Reda Abdel Rahman says; “I see Gibran as an ‘enlightened one,’ teaching us how God desires us to live and see and treat each other. Gibran, through beautiful poetic words, shares with us the spiritual treasures.”


PS: Truth be told, my grandkids were most interested in Gibran’s mustache in this painting, as well as the gold leaf on it!



NOTE: If you are not familiar with Kahlil Gibran’s profound spiritual life, I encourage you to read my latest book, titled “IN SEARCH OF A PROPHET: A Spiritual Journey with Kahlil Gibran.”


To purchase it, see:

Barnes & Noble - https://bit.ly/46pzsNJ

Indie Bound - https://bit.ly/47FpNnq.


About this artwork:

Reda Abdel Rahman, The Mystic, 2018

Charcoal & acrylic and gold leaf on canvas, 92 x 46 cm



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