Mishntef, the son of the town of Abra in the Sidon district of southern Lebanon, lived his studies in his country, then traveled to Italy during the war to complete his higher education, and there he learned the art of sculpture before moving to settle in the Sultanate of Oman, where his father ran a marble factory there.
Mishntaf’s proximity to his father’s environment and his father’s work in marble and stone was the reason for the emergence of his talent, and from the valleys of Oman, which he has been constantly touring for nearly 4 decades, he has been choosing their stones to make his sculptures and inspire his ideas.
Mishntaf said in an exclusive interview with “Sky News Arabia”: “I loved the stone since I was young, so I made the first statue of it when I was 13 years old and presented it as a gift to my mother after I came with the stone from one of the lands of my southern town.”
He added: “I am an amateur sculptor and art, and I will continue to consider myself as such. I do not do artwork for the sake of the material, but for the happiness that overwhelms me when I see the result of each form I implement and turn it into messages and ideas that spread from Lebanon to the world.”
The artist revealed that in 1997 he visited the creative Lebanese sculptor Alfred Basbous in the town of Rachana in the Mount Lebanon Governorate, which is an open museum of statues and paintings at the global level, and showed him some of his sculptures, and predicted Basbous a prosperous future.
Mechantaf adds: “I draw the idea with my eyes and my imagination before I carve it on the deaf stone. For me, art is a message and people understand it without the need to explain, each in his own way. My message is to make the deaf stones speak and convey feelings and sensations.”
Mochantef has not yet had the opportunity to hold an exhibition as he resides in the Omani capital, Muscat, but he says, “My sculptures have spread all over the world and bear Lebanese fingerprints, and this is enough for me to be proud, especially in Italy, where I studied.”
His distinctive sculpture of the famous Titanic, which sank in the Atlantic Ocean in 1912, was presented to the Louaize University Museum in Mount Lebanon.
Mechantaf said: “I am currently inclined to surrealist abstract sculpture in a concept of my own. I am trying to transform the vague and strange in sculpture and stone to express an idea, so I embody the rock with the back bent, for example, as a sign of fatigue and worries.”
He concludes: “Sculpting on stone is a passion, and I sometimes include wood in my sculptures on marble, and through that I write a story that I want to embody in a surrealist abstract style to convey the idea to the recipient, but indirectly.”
Mishntaf has more than 500 sculptures, which are spread in important centers in Muscat and throughout the Sultanate of Oman in general.