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Biography of Khalil Gibran

Khalil Gibran

Gibran Khalil Gibran (aka Jubran Kahlil Jubran) was born into a Maronite Family on January 6, 1883 at Bsharri, a town near Mount Fam al-MIzab in Northern Lebanon. Gibran was born as the first child to his mother, second overall (first son named Butros), from her second marriage.

Just two years later, his first sister, Marianna was born and two years after another sister, Sultana was born. When 1888 came about, Gibran entered a small one-class village school where he learned Arabic, Syriac and Arithmetic.

In 1895, Gibran, his two sisters and Butros emigrated to Chinatown in Boston while their father, a tax collector and drunkard, stayed behind. Butros opened a small shop and began earning the families only source of income. Doing so allowed Gibran to join the local school and angelicize to Khalil Gibran.

Showing promise in drawing and painting, Gibran was introduced to the Bostonian photographer and artist Fred Holland Day. As Day was experimenting with photography as art, Gibran was photographed on several occasions, sometimes nude. Gibran was then sent back to Lebanon to further his studies at al-Hikma high school in Beirut. His studies required more learning of Arabic, French and literature.

For a short period in 1901, Gibran returned to Boston with his family. However, shortly after in 1902, while traveling to Lebanon as a translator for an American family, Gibran heard the news of his youngest sister's, Sultana, death from tuberculosis and quickly returned home to visit with his family.

The following year was no better. Gibran faced two more deaths, his half-brother Butros from tuberculosis and his mother from cancer.

In 1904, Gibran's first picture exhibition was held at Fred Holland Day's studio. This exhibition was the start of many publications which came in the following years, including al-Musiqa; which emphasizes on Arabic music and its various forms, al-Arwah al-Mutamclrrida (Spirits Rebellious); four short stories about the spirit of 'Ara is al-Muruj.

In 1908, after his publication in New York, Gibran left to Paris to study art taught by Mary Haskell. Just two years later, Gibran met Ameen Rihani, who was headed to New York City, and visited London to educate themselves by the art in the city. The two then went separate ways. Gibran then returned to Boston after spending two years and four months in Paris and traveling London.

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