Shafik Al Faqih

Artist-Author-Educator

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Shafik Al Faqih was born in Aley in 1928.

He was the son of Sheikh Ali Al Faqih and Khawla Al Faqih.

He was born into an intellectual family. His brother was Fayez Al Faqih – journalist, author and political activist. His sister was Wahida Faqih Charafeddine – community and social activist.

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Shafik Al Faqih completed his secondary studies at the National University in Aley, and entered the cadre of formal education after two years at the Baysour Public School.

Education did not prevent Shafik Al Faqih from pursuing university studies, after some ten years or more. He spent his time as a teacher, a painter, and an employee in the social and civil sector.

He completed his academic studies to obtain a degree in Arabic literature from the Arab University in Beirut.

Shafik Al Faqih remained a teacher and a student at the same time, and thus endured great hardships – but this did not prevent him from achieving his ambitions.

Shafik Al-Faqih spent 43 years in teaching, including 20 years in public secondary education. He continued the educational journey from Baissour to Aytat to the Ministry of Education, where he worked in the Directorate of Secondary Education, before taking over the administration of Aley Public Secondary School.

This was in the darkest and most difficult of circumstances – the civil war. He was faced with the challenges of rebuilding the stones of the school which had suffered repeated damage, but also (and most importantly) rebuilding the humanity of his students and community.

The official school was later named after the famous educator and writer Maroun Abboud, who taught in Aley, and Shafik Al Faqih was one of his students in a distinguished and distinct position.

FAYEZ AL FAQIH WITH KAMAL JOUMBLATT
FAYEZ AL FAQIH OPENS PSP CONFERENCE
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In parallel with education, for more than four decades, Shafik Al-Faqih was one of the activists in the “Cultural Association in Aley”, which was a platform for culture and arts, and the link between Aley and the cultural movement in the capital, Beirut.

Al-Faqih pointed out that “the artistic and cultural renaissance began in Aley during the fifties”, by holding many exhibitions.

Shafik Al Faqih held his first exhibition in the Cultural Center of the French Scientific School, and was sponsored by the French Ambassador to Lebanon. He was one of the pioneers of the renaissance in the field of plastic art in its first stages of crystallization, along with the artist Aref Al-Rayess and a number of other plastic artists.

Participants of the international youth meeting (from left to right): Sharif Hussein, member of the State Farm “Zarche”, Tselinograd region of Kazakhstan, Hero of Socialist Labor Vasily Skryl and Fayez Faqih (Lebanon) - Sunday, 30 July, 1967 (Soviet Pravda)
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Because plastic art remained below what it aspired to at the level of expression, and in light of the tragic changes following the Nakba in Palestine in 1948 and the setback in 1967, Al-Faqih shifted his artistic focus and moved to writing and literature, publishing some thirteen books, as a form of activism, including:

• A commotion in a village – ضجة في قرية

• A teacher and “Batha” – “معلم وبطحة

• Miss Leka (art criticism) –

الآنسة ليكا (نقد فني)

• June 5 Girl (play) – فتاة 5 حزيران (مسرحية)

• The Madman of the Occupied Territory (play) – مجنون الارض المحتلة (مسرحية)

• Bitter Coffee in Arlington (play) – القهوة المرّة في ارلنغتون (مسرحية)

• My Son with the Events – ابني مع الاحداث

• My Son Between Two Wars – ابني بين حربين

• A Chat with Death – دردشة مع الموت

• Your house is crying, father – بيتك يبكي يا أبي

• I missed the train, my love – فاتني القطار يا حبيبتي

• My old grandfather and our things – وجدي الشيخ وأشياؤنا

• The Spectator  – المتفرج –  in which he says that he presents many critical intellectual issues, from the position of the “spectator,” in order to be “distanced from the interference of the public with the private, and in search of impartiality in dealing with issues”.

FAYEZ FAQIH WITH DELEGATION IN RUSSIA
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Unlike other artists, authors and educators, Shafik Al-Faqih was not honored – neither as a painter, nor a man of science, education, or administration, nor as a writer, nor as a man of letters. He did not seek honors, recognition or rewards. He considered he was honored by his long struggle and multiple contributions.

FAYEZ AL FAQIH WITH HIS WIFE HALA JAMALEDDINE
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Picture of Heather & Sami Eljurdi

Heather & Sami Eljurdi

Founders • Archivists • Editors

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