Sleiman Dleikan

Master of Realism

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Sleiman Dleikan - Aley, Lebanon
Sleiman Dleikan - artist - Aley, Lebanon
Sleiman Dleikan - young artist - Aley, Lebanon
Sleiman Dleikan - Artist - pictured here in Kuwait

Master of Realism

Born in Aley in 1955, Sleiman Aref Dleikan is Lebanon’s foremost classic realist painter.

He discovered his talent to draw at the age of nine, describing it as a “gift from God”.

Encouraged by his mother, he began painting with pastels and watercolors, quickly progressing to oil paints. The aspiring young artist found the walls of his home to be the perfect canvas to practice his craft.

His participation in exhibitions began at the early age of 13, with his first major exhibition in Hotel Gebeily in Aley in 1979.

Despite the advice of many around him, who considered art to be an impractical career path, Sleiman Dleikan continued to paint and perfect his craft, enjoying international recognition.

Sleiman Dleikan - Artist at his easel - Aley, Lebanon

From Aley to Kuwait

In the mid-1970s, with tensions escalating in Lebanon, Sleiman Dleikan moved to Kuwait, where he remained for 38 years, describing it as his “second country”, cherishing the appreciation and friendship of its people.

In Kuwait, his talent entered a new phase – branching into illustration and graphic design. He designed and executed commemorative currency issues for the Central Bank of Kuwait on several occasions, such as National Day and the advent of the 21st Century, in addition to the design and implementation of commemorative stamps for the Ministry of Transportation, and Driving Licenses and Civil ID cards.

Sleiman Dleikan designed many postage stamps, including:

• Celebration of the Silver Jubilee on the founding of the Kuwait Press Association in 1989

• 20th Anniversary of The Red Crescent in Kuwait

• World Health Day – 1982 – 1984 – 1986

• National Day in Kuwait

Dleikan was also chosen to create the two-sided design of the gold and silver coins issued by The Central Bank of Kuwait on the occasion of the beginning of the 15th century HIJRI in 1983.

Sleiman Dleikan was one of the founders of Kuwait’s Al-Waseet newspaper, taking over the technical department, and working as art director for several advertising agencies.

In Kuwait, he participated in many art exhibitions including The Kuwait Regency Palace Hotel. The exhibition was attended by Prince Charles, Crown Prince Of Kuwait and other dignitaries.

Although he lost 18 treasured paintings during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, this did not deter him from pursuing his art, and preparing a large collection of exquisite works for an exhibition in Beirut’s Unesco Palace in 2010.

Inspired by Da Vinci

Self-educated, with an exceptional eye for detail,  Sleiman Dleikan’s art is inspired by the great realist painter, Leonardo da Vinci.

His paintings embody the smallest details –  the closer you are to the painting, the more accurate it appears – “in order to print reality on canvas”.

Dleikan is heavily influenced by nature, and therefore avoids to modify either people or nature in his paintings, preferring to depict them as they are – “so the beholder may enjoy true beauty, without being included in the maze of interpreting what the painter means and his inspirations”.

sleiman dleikan artist aley lebanon
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Against the Tide

As a realist artist, Sleiman Dleikan is swimming against the tide of modern and contemporary art.  Abstract, surreal, impressionist art may be more in vogue, but Dleikan has always remained true to his style – he captures the beauty of nature with every brush stroke.

His work harks back to an older way of painting. To standards from the past. To a time when drawing mattered. When shock value wasn’t so highly regarded. A time when art and craftsmanship were one and the same. To realism. To beauty in nature. His artwork can be compared to that of the old masters. He welcomes the comparison.

Unlike many artists who have adapted their styles for commercial gain or glory, Sleiman Dleikan has remained staunchly true to his beginnings, never swayed by fashion.

And although his resulting works may look effortless, from the eyelash on a horse to the wing of a butterfly, they are the result of hundreds of hours of intense effort and exacting talent.

The depth, detail, spirit, passion and historical interpretation created on every canvas  invites the viewer to “live the scene” – to breathe the air, feel the breeze, experience the emotions – and to step back in time.

His masterful choice of colors brings Sleiman Dleikan’s subjects to life – they are more than just photo-realistic interpretations. His extraordinary eye for detail is mesmerizing, connecting the viewer to a variety of emotions with unique symbolism on every canvas.

With each and every exemplary brushstroke, the expression of every line and curve, the vibrant and profound mix of colors – these elements combine to touch the deepest chasms of our hearts and souls.

Sleiman Dleikan’s paintings serve as a priceless historical reminder of bygone times – from his traditional classical realist techniques to his subject matter, capturing the true essence of eras past.

"My intention is to capture the divintity of God's creations on canvas."

Sleiman Dleikan – Artist

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Back to Beirut

In 2010, Sleiman Dleikan returned to Beirut, holding an exhibition of 35 paintings in Unesco Palace, titled “The World is a Magnificent Verse of Priceless Artistry”.

His exhibition was attended by the famous French artist, Jean-Paul de Bernis, who commended him on his extraordinary talent.

This was followed by another exhibition in Aley in 2013 – “Evolution of Artistry – Beauty Captured”.


Literary Honour

The researcher/historian/author Moufida Abed paid homage to Sleiman Dleikan, in her recent book:

“Sleiman Dleikan is dedicated in giving with paintings manifested by light.
He drew beauty, came in search of nature with loyalty.
So the decorations of the rock became art, and for its glow, the solution of hope.
My hope is that it will last on thrones manifested in the arts and generosity.”

sleiman dleikan painting forest scene
Picture of Heather & Sami Eljurdi

Heather & Sami Eljurdi

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