Botany and Ormiston Times
Howick and Pakuranga Times : Howick and Pakuranga Times, Thurs, Oct 11
www.times.co.nz Howick and Pakuranga Times, Thursday, October 11, 2012 --- 17 119783 By CHRIS HARROWELL ARTIST Zad Jabbour took his family and left behind war and confict in the Middle East in a search for peace in a new land. The Lebanese-born painter moved from his homeland to Qatar and then Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in the early 1990s because of ongoing civil unrest. Many of his paintings hang in churches, palaces and private collec- tions in the Middle East. Mr Jabbour settled with his wife Amal and son Hadi, now 26 and working as an electrical engineer, in Howick upon arriving in New Zea- land in 2006. He’s immersed himself in the area’s art scene, selling prints of his works at the Classy Crafts weekend market in Cook Street. The 70-year-old realist artist has recently been through some tough times, with Amal passing away from cancer in June last year. His drawers at home are full of photographs of his paintings, and his walls are covered with his depictions of the Middle East. There are also local scenes such as Howick’s All Saints Anglican Church, Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, and The Prospect of Howick hotel. Mr Jabbour says he’s profcient working with any art medium, from oils and acrylic to watercolour and pencil. While he’s content to now live in a peaceful country, he still feels strong ties to Lebanon and the Middle East. “I founded an art school in Beirut, but unfortunately the war wouldn’t letusgoonandwelostalotof money,” Mr Jabbour told the Times. “We said, ‘let’s go and fnd our way somewhere else’.” Mr Jabbour’s father Ibrahim was a renowned artist in the Middle East, helping to establish an art society in Lebanon before passing away in 1994. Among the list of wealthy and pow- erful people his son has captured on canvas is Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahan, the former ruler of Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s frst president. “When he died, everything art- wise dropped down,” Mr Jabbour says, of the sheikh. “We stayed there [Dubai] for about two years without work. “I was at an age where you couldn’t get a work permit if you didn’t have your own business, but starting a business in Dubai cost too much. “My son was accepted into AUT University, so we said ‘let’s gather everything and try our luck in New Zealand’. “We were starting to establish our- selves and then my wife got sick. “The past three years were very tough, but here we are trying to go on with life as much as we can.” One of Mr Jabbour’s artistic speci- alities is religious iconography, with his favourite subjects including Jesus Christ and the Last Supper. If those are the paintings from which he takes the most enjoyment, one of his hardest jobs was for his old friend the sheikh. Mr Jabbour worked as the resident artist at the Al Mushrif Palace in the UAE and painted portraits of the rul- ing family. “I painted 24 portraits for Sheikh Zayed’s museum in Abu Dhabi,” Mr Jabbour says. “They’re in one room and it’s a family tree for portraits of him, his grandfather, father’s brother, and his 20 sons. The one of his grandfather was the most challenging, because I didn’t have any colour photographs to work from. “We just had a passport photo, which was black and white and faded. “I also painted a portrait of a busi- nessman who wouldn’t meet with someone unless they were discussing a deal of at least $10 million. “I fnished that and then he said he wanted six more. I told him, ‘you need to do something special, so let me take photos of you and I’ll create a special portrait for you, one that rep- resents you as a person’. “I took his photo and that portrait was the best I ever did.” Mr Jabbour says creating icon paintings requires more than just skill. “It’s very important work and takes a lifetime of devotion, as well as reli- gious beliefs, to do this sort of work,” he says. “You need a deep knowledge of theology, not only as knowledge but as a practice, so you can relate to the work you’re doing.” Zad Jabbour sells prints of his ■ paintings at the Classy Crafts Mar- ket, All Saints Community Centre, 30 Cook Street, Howick, from 9am-1pm on Saturdays. War inspired family's fresh start WORLDLY: Lebanese painter Zad Jabbour has brought his considerable artistic talents to Howick. Times photo Wayne Martin PERSONAL: Mr Jabbour specialises in creating religious work, above, and portraits, below.
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