1939 - 2014
Native of afflicted South Lebanon and citizen of the world, Moussa Tiba was born at Kana in South Lebanon in 1939. The third of six siblings, Moussa Tiba spent his childhood near Tyre in the South of Lebanon. As a teenager, he left his native village for Beirut, where he obtained his secondary school diploma, then entered the Beirut Fine Arts Institute in 1957 against his parents' wishes.
After graduating in 1961, he left for London and Rome, then to Spain, North Africa and Canada (Quebec). He has held some fifteen solo exhibitions and taken part in more than twenty salons.
Four years at ALBA still could not quench Tiba's thirst for knowledge and art. He explored galleries and museums in Vienna, London and Rome, where he studied for three years. In Italy, he discovered sculpture, frescoes and engravings, and experimented with a wide array of means of artistic expression. Tiba chose watercolor, fascinated by its delicacy, purity, transparency and the freedom of expression it allows. From the figuration of his beginnings, in which he painted his life and his village, he made a decisive turn towards abstraction in 1970.
In the early nineteen-seventies, Tiba often traveled around the Mediterranean, his palette warmed up and colors started forming simple geometric shapes, squares and straight lines.
Unfortunately, the idyll couldn't last. The beginning of the 1975 civil war deeply affected him: his studio was partially destroyed, and his house in Kfarshima entirely demolished. Tiba sought refuge in Quebec, and eventually returned to Europe. In 1986, he moved to Chartres, France, to study stained glass techniques, and still resides there today. With his peripatetic existence and deep mystical and philosophical convictions, Tiba defines himself as a citizen of the world, the heir to all the civilizations that have marked Lebanon - from the Phoenicians to the Arabs, from the Egyptians to the Greeks. A cosmopolitan artist, torn between Western and Oriental cultures, he seeks to harmonize them in his art, by conveying a cosmic vision of the world.
Man is the only party to which his art owes allegiance and on whose behalf he takes up arms. His canvases bear one name: Peace. In a spare and severe manner, his work tells of the dreams of someone who believes in peace and love blended with the memories of his village and people and land.
If his work stands out from that of his Lebanese and Arab colleagues, it is by frank and unprejudiced way of dealing with the sexual problem which, in his work, takes on the form of an aesthetic concern rich in the meaning of its multiple languages.
Women is the sacred life-spring where Moussa Tiba draw the source of his art. Man, on the other hand, is but the simple 'instrument of fecundation'. a plaything for women in the act which brings about the continuation of life. The instant where the act of impregnation is accomplished is the most holy of all. This is the key which opens up the world of Moussa Tiba for us, the key to the heart of this artistic experience on which the painter concentrates his lines and colours. In his canvases as transparent as crystal, the bodies are stripped of their lines and curves, their existential heaviness, to become winged creatures like the gods in Assyrian art whose aery movement is adorned with transparent colour.
From the depths of consciousness, Moussa Tiba has perceived that in his art creation consists of giving shape to the unique instant of impregnation: a bold attempt requiring a long approach and the exposure of a double mystery - that of drawing and of colour; a third mystery is added which unites the two - the mystery of the nuptial act.
Tiba stands for the constant regeneration of life against destructive chaos. In complex visionary compositions, full of energy and richly nuanced colors, he chases the decisive brushstroke, one that must be perfectly in sync with his feelings - since, to him, emotions can only be transmitted through abstraction. He evokes Lebanese and global tragedies, both historical and contemporary, while delving into his memory to transcend his painful experiences though a wise and spiritual outlook at life.
In Qana, South-Lebanon, his family house was converted into a museum that pays homage to his works. It also exhibits the works of important foreign and Lebanese artists such as Shafic Abboud, Halim Jurdak and Hussein Madi.
Moussa Tiba exhibited in Lebanon, France, Germany, Norway, as well as Egypt, Kuwait and Brazil. His work is on permanent display in his native village of Qana, and is part of the collections of the Musée des Beaux-Arts i Chartres, the institute du Monde Arabe in Paris, and the UNESCO in Beirut.
Article in French:
Moussa Tiba est originaire de Qana (Liban-Sud). Né en 1939, il étudié l'art à l'Académie Libanaise des Beaux-arts (1957 - 1961) et à l'Académie des Beaux-arts de Rome (1964 - 1967).
Un grand nombre de critiques italiens s'accordent à dire que les toiles qu'il a exposées en 1972 à la Galerie Trifalco, appartiennent à la "Nouvelle Ecole libérée". "Tiba est un peintre qui associe une sensibilité raffinée à la perfection du fini et au déferlement de vivacité de son imagination prompte à se jeter dans l'au-delà du sensible et du signifié" (Claude Turunzi, Journal Albiazi Sera, 13 avril 1972).
L'art de Tiba consiste à pénétrer deux secrets: celui de la couleur et celui du trait. Puis, c'est ici le point capital, il domestique l'aquarelle et lui donne ainsi la densité de l'huile. C'est là qu'il montre sa force.
Dans ses toiles lyriques, tantôt transparentes et froides comme la glace, ou chaudes et brûlantes comme l'été, Tiba n'est pas concerné seulement par la couleur. Ses toiles évoquent à la fois le réel et l'imaginaire. Sans rien négliger de ce qu'il voit, il laisse libre cours à son rêve. Et ainsi œil et imagination sont pour lui indissociables.
Mais la transparence de l'aquarelle, qui par nature tend à abolir la forme, peut-elle satisfaire cette exigence? Tiba doit donc recourir au symbole. Ses toiles "cristallines" dépouillent les corps de leurs contours accusés et de leur pesanteur pour en faire des êtres ailés dont le vol se fond dans une symphonie de couleurs diaphanes.
Par une interaction de l'aquarelle et de la lumière Moussa Tiba parvient à recréer la vie dans ses créations artistiques. Cette interaction apparait pour la première fois dans un tableau "La Corrida" et devient la frontière qui sépare la vie ou la fécondité, de la mort ou la stérilité. On ressent le frisson intense de la mort qui saisit le troupeau de taureaux alors qu'il tente d'échapper à un obscur cauchemar, mais reste cloué sur place devant un mystérieux inconnu. Et les taureaux tourbillonnent comme saisis par le pressentiment de la mort, avant même de voir "l'épée".
Plus tard, dans "Le Verbe" où il peint une homme du Liban-Sud nu, seul, ciblé de balles, mais défiant la mort, Tiba a su peindre la vie et la mort dans un mouvement de chute qui représente un effondrement total et un mouvement vers le haut qui traduit la volonté de surmonter la mort.
Il exprime ainsi le drame de l'Humanité