Walif Chbeir, MD has studied radiology for over three decades, but he has pursued another passion for just as many years: the arts. The Lebanon-born physician has always felt drawn to artists from his homeland. Although Walif chose to go into medicine rather than try out artistry, he feels a certain kinship with Lebanese artists; they are able to depict the exact culture and background that so influenced Walif growing up.
One of Walif’s favorite artists is Lebanese painter and poet Joseph Matar. Imaginative yet technically adept, Eastern-born yet influential around the globe, reminiscent of the Renaissance greats as he paves the future of artistry… there is no creative spirit quite like Matar. Walif Chbeir was taught by Matar in his school days and he is still inspired to this day by many of the same things which inspire Matar’s breadth of work. His depictions of beautiful Lebanese landscapes and of Maronite spirituality reflect the world in which Walif was raised.
In addition to art, Walif Chbeir is passionate about literature. He often seeks out writers to whom he can relate, and no writer encapsulates this more perfectly than Gebran Khalil Gebran. A Lebanese immigrant not unlike Walif, Gebran wrote iconic works such as 1923’s The Prophet and took on complex subjects such as the coexistence (or clash) of traditional Lebanese customs and religions with Western societal influence. This is something with which Walif has had direct experience, having grown up in Lebanon at a very transitional time in the nation’s history.
Walif also enjoys French literature, having lived in France and later Quebec, Canada for many years. His two favorite French intellectuals are writer and philosopher Jean-Jacque Rousseau and The Human Comedy author Honoré de Balzac. He also enjoys reading works by French “father of romanticism” Chateaubriand, Victor Hugo, Marcel Proust and many others. Much of Walif’s knowledge of French culture is based on the great philosophers who shaped much of the country’s discourse over the years.
Because Walif Chbeir has an international background and speaks multiple languages, he is always trying to expand his knowledge of literature across cultures and religions. He has recently delved into American literature and has worked his way through the “Great American Novels” of the last few centuries; he is particularly fascinated by the writers of the “Lost Generation.” The explorational sense that Walif gets when he opens a new book–particularly one from a culture that differs from his own–is second to none. Picking up new pieces of literature from authors like Kurt Vonnegut or George Orwell are not only wonderful ways to relax, but exhilarating and transformational for Chbeir.
Though he has achieved success in the medical industry, Walif is far from done his education. Chbeir has a strong passion for continuing his education outside of the realm of school, setting aside time to learn and grow whenever he can. Walif continues to study philosophy, literature, and art in his spare time and he is always looking for new opportunities to learn and grow in a personal, professional and philosophical sense.
Since returning to Lebanon, Chbeir has fully embraced his love of the country, its art and music scene, and the culture that surrounds him every day. Some of the photography taken by Walif Chbeir can be found on his 500px and Flickr accounts. When he has the opportunity, he can often be found strolling around his home country snapping photos, striking up conversation with others, or stopping to read a book.