Growing up in Lebanon during the war, Jihan Chehayeb was always searching for real meanings and trying to put things back in place. She studied Architecture, moved to Canada and came back. Her bond to Lebanon grew stronger and creative ideas started to flow: the Jihan C bookmarks collection was born, celebrating identity and history through the meaningful geometries of famous architectural landmarks and their details, condensed in a gold-plated memento. By merging a door or a window and a book to open up to a world of knowledge about the #MiddleEast, she built a silent, yet powerful invitation to meditation for some and an identity reminder for others. Through her work, Sursock Museum, Mandaloun, Baalbeck, Beirut City Hall or Al Rifai Mosque are translated in souvenir miniatures. Currently, her jewelry-like bookmarks are to be found in concept stores and museum shops across Middle East. Her latest launch took place in Cairo, celebrating Al Rifa’i, a masterpiece of Egyptian architecture.
- WHAT WOULD MAKE YOUR SOUL SING? WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
In the outer world, meeting new souls on the same wave length makes me happy and makes my soul sing. In the inner world, I enjoy working on my designs and it is like meditation for me that literally tickles my soul.
- A CHILDHOOD STORY THAT ANNOUNCED THE CREATIVE PERSON YOU ARE TODAY
All creative people are creative because they haven’t killed the inner child within, all the richness, curiosity and experiences of my childhood transformed into mature human wisdoms.
- BEST CONTEXT EVER FOR INSPIRATION WAS:
Architecture inspires me; Buildings as well as Doors and Windows and I immerse deeper while I am working on the element itself with music that kicks my imagination and creativity into high gear just like in a dream.
- THE PROJECT YOU LOVED MOST:
I love all the projects I am working on, I only love them when they are near to perfection, but we can never be near perfection, isn’t it? I only love them when I feel the magic, only then I know that the work is complete.
- THE PROJECT OTHERS LOVED MOST:
There are many factors that contribute to how people appreciate art forms and it is always relative.
- THE BEST THING ABOUT LEBANESE CREATIVITY IS:
The best thing about the Lebanese creativity is that it turned them into alchemists, they were even able to transform a revolution into a wonderful art field.
- BEST STATEMENT OF LEBANESE HUMOR
Lebanese joke about themselves, it is somehow a form of self-criticism or a form of powerful messages intended to be voiced.
- ADVICE FOR INTERNATIONAL HEADHUNTERS, RELATED TO LEBANESE CREATIVES:
The culture of Lebanon and the Lebanese people emerged from various civilizations, a variety of exposures and turmoil that stimulated their neurons to become creative survivors in the field of art as well as in other domains.
- BEST PLACE IN BEIRUT:
Nicolas Sursock Museum and its surrounding neighborhood is one of my favorite places in Beirut. The Street is home to other mansions that were built in the 19th century by Beirut’s most prominent families. Once you enter it you are transported into another realm.
- BEST PLACE IN LEBANON:
Every single corner of Lebanon is a precious gem.
Every single corner of Lebanon is a precious gem whether you go North, East, West or South. If you go to Baalbeck, in the Beqaa area, you will enjoy the history timeline from the Phoenicians to the Romans, the Byzantine even the Arabo-Islamic periods. It is a must to visit the mountains of Lebanon and enjoy the beautiful sceneries and landscape. Every place by the shoreline tells a story, underneath it lies many layers of history only the sea is a witness.
- MOST DISTURBING CLICHÉ ABOUT LEBANON, IN THE MEDIA OUTLETS OF THE WORLD IS:
That Lebanon produces terrorism. We want the world to know the real story.
- LEBANON SHOULD BE KNOWN FOR:
The real story that we want to tell about Lebanon is that we have a wonderful nature, although we are harming it and we produce educated men and women that are already shining in many aspects all around the world.
- YOUR VIEWS ON SPIRITUALITY:
Spirituality cannot be defined, it has to be explored by being just ordinary, to live, to love, to dance, to sing and to create the very ordinary existence with extraordinary intensity and passion.
- YOUR VIEWS ON MONEY:
Money should not become the goal, it is a good means.
AN INSPIRATION SOURCE YOU RECOMMEND FOR A YOUNG CREATIVE:
Gibran Khalil Gibran, the Lebanese philosophical essayist, novelist, poet and artist who wrote The Prophet; Is an inspiration for all ages, his poignant words and divine art were a message across the ages.
If you want to discover more of the Jihan’s C. whimsical world, follow her story on the website www.jihanc.com or on Instagram @jihanc.design.
Pictures courtesy of Jihan C & Georges Esper.