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The College Hall Mini Gallery
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Fall 2008 Vol. VII, No. 1

The College Hall Mini Gallery

In the early ’70s Peter Harrison Smith described the College Hall Mini Gallery (a gallery established by the art department in the third floor corridor leading to the presidents office) as “dedicated to making the experience of art a living part of the educational process.” He wanted to provide all AUB students with a “daily experience of contemporary Middle Eastern art.” Among the works donated or loaned to the University at that time were a sculpture donated by Mouazez Rawda (1906-86) displayed near Nicely Hall, a painting loaned by Joseph Tanous, chair of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts (1968-1970), and displayed in Nicely Hall; and two paintings in Jewett and Bustani Halls by Farid Haddad, an AUB graduate in fine arts who went on to make a career of painting in the United States. From 1979 he was on the faculty of New England College in New Hampshire, which reports, “he has had twenty one-person exhibitions and participated in more than fifty group shows in Europe, the middle East, and North America.”

The Mini Gallery contained a painting by Jean Khalifeh (1923-1978). An early ALBA student, he also studied in Paris and Rome, and was awarded many prizes in Lebanon and the Middle East. American David Egee, one of the first directors of the new AUB Medical Center, was also represented in the Mini Gallery as was Adel Saghir, an AUB graduate who studied in Paris, Germany, and New York. A painter, sculptor, and tapestry designer now living in the United States, he boasts an international reputation. He designed several bronze sculptures for various Beirut buildings. Also included in the early Mini Gallery exhibition was Stelio Scamanga, one of whose paintings is now in AUB’s permanent collection. Born to Greek immigrants in Damascus in 1934, he graduated in architecture from AUB. His paintings have been widely shown in recent years in France and Switzerland as well as in Beirut. A 1974 essay by Joseph Tarrab, renowned L’Orient-Le Jour critic, described him as a Mediterranean par excellence, partaking of both western and oriental culture.