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Aref El Rayess

(1928 - 2005) Born in Aley , Lebanon in 1928, El Rayess started his career as a self-taught artist exhibiting for the first time in 1948. He lived in Africa for many years during which he traveled between Senegal and Paris. In Paris, he joined the studios of Fernand Léger, André Lhote, Marcelle Marso and Ossip Zadkine while studying at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. In 1957, he returned to Lebanon, but left again for Florence in 1959 with a scholarship from the Italian government. From 1960 to 1963, he lived in Rome where he went on studying and exhibiting. In 1963, he returned to Lebanon. He was commissioned by the Lebanese government to design and execute a tapestry presented to the Unesco centre in Paris. The Lebanese government also requested him to create two sculptures to represent Lebanon at the World Fair in New York.