The Mansion Where May Ziadeh Lived and Her Refrain I’d Heard in My Heart Answered

November 26, 2021 (up to date: September 9, 2022)

This is the Ziade Palace where poet and author May Ziadeh lived (b. 11 Feb 1886, d. 17 Oct. 1941) in Lebanon.

The green gate lead up to the upper floor of the palace and it was said May had lived on the first floor with the traditional balcony. If her family wanted to see the sky, they could go up to one of the upper floors and look out the windows, especially at night to see the stars. These recent photos were kindly taken by writer and poet Hagop Kazazian passing by in Beirut, Lebanon.

This is how the mansion looks in our current time not how it was when her family lived there and maintained it…there, a green door. And I had a slight dizzying feeling like I’d drawn something like this before in colored pencil or pastel but I don’t remember it or still have it…

Then I also realized, the gate design looks just like the gate to my backyard in the house where I grew up and lived in Brooklyn, New York; that gate was painted white.

May was often asking as if in a refrain of her own, “Where is my homeland?” As you know about her life and views, she often felt she didn’t really know where she belonged.

One time, she wrote: “I am a lonely human, suffering in silence. No hand reaches me from the forest of hands that used to stay up under the moonlight. I write my love letters on flower petals, or I compose poems and articles praising my intelligence and brilliance.” —May Ziadeh

…I made a silent note myself not to get lost in past pain of hers because she is happy now.

…Happy in heaven, and I love having her come by where I live in my home to enjoy each other’s company and at times to guide me. I’ve had great trials (example: trying to filter out the neighbors’ drugs that are greatly affecting my mental well-being), and she’s seen me in my worst rage, as I truly am. And I’d felt her say…(I put it into these words)…Meditate as you, knowing you are a sanctuary, and I am one for you…a refuge we reveal as all beautiful, in meditation, and we can always come to…alone or with others.

I feel at home, with her wherever I am.

Her letters were placed into this green mail chute.

May Ziadeh wearing a long dress with a bracelet, and maybe her graduation tassel necklace, or her mother, Nuzha’s necklace, shown in a photo of Nuzha, she wears a similar tassel on her graduation. It looks like the photographer was taking her photos from the floor though, which could be common and uncomfortable for the subject ;o like where to look, when they’re wanting to accentuate a woman’s height.

This is the backyard where she lived (shown recently)…I love that there are round windows in the mansion. They remind me of my round canvas I’d gotten months ago and my most recent painting on it.

My plan is to continue to paint and find a group or place/event (I already know of one place and another idea) to sell my art in person, solely or in a group, either way…And this task or goal is one I am greatly excited to do.

The Beirut poet, Hagop let me know that May also had an artist next door neighbor named Marie Chiha Hadad. While it didn’t seem that May drew or painted herself, she was known to be, of course an author who’d written many books, a much sought out speaker and lecturer, translator, private tutor, she hosted well-known ‘literary salons’ for writers and intellectuals to meet at her home (most biographers mention the salon in Cairo, Egypt), and she played piano and sang (unrecorded). She’d known very well herself some well-known artists, like Kahlil Gibran and had likely known this next door neighbor, Marie Hadad who also did portrait art like Gibran had, most likely best known for these in her own time, even if she and May weren’t close friends.

This still life painting by next door neighbor to May, artist Marie Hadad really stood out to me especially since I was just completing my own latest painting in a long time, also a still life titled “Jasmine and Jewels.”

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I didn’t find a title for it; it was labeled ‘still life’ by artist Marie Hadad, b. 1889 in Beiruit.

What I enjoy…Bold, complimentary colors showing contrast of light and darkness with the dim lamp in the room and with quieter, more common sights like the little porcelain tea cup bringing a sense of familiarity… with interest. A pipe and a book and a little delicate tea cup, not always seen as all being from the same woman, but could be.

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Read more about May’s home on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziade_Palace

More to come, my darlings! But let’s stop here with plenty of pictures and ideas to absorb and rest within.

Sources: https://fanack.com/faces-en/may-ziadeh-pioneer-of-feminism-and-writing~220626/

more info on home: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziade_Palace

the artist neighbor: https://www.onefineart.com/artists/painters/Marie-Hadad

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