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Away from daily chaos of the streets of Beirut, art is being cleft from stone at Atelier Assaf in the Chouf village of Warhanieh. With a scent of fresh mountain air, three Assaf brothers put all of their focus, heart and mind on making sculptures and statues that will be remembered for generations. The trio, Assaf, Mansour and Aref, has been making art for more than 20 years now.Mansour was speaking with The Daily Star at Atelier Assaf, their new workshop and art space that has become a major tourist attraction across the Chouf. Over an area of 10,000 square meters, the brothers turned their rambling property into a museum where visitors can see some of their creations on display. When seen separately, the pieces don't appear to show anything meaningful, but when you stand at the right angle, you can look through the collection and it becomes clear that the six stones make up the head of late Lebanese poet and philosopher Mikhail Naimy.It was also the family's relationship with late Lebanese artist Aref al-Rayess, who helped pave the road for the Assaf brothers to get where they are today.Sculpting and making statues is a very delicate and detailed job, Mansour said.Although made of cold, rigid stone, the statue looks lifelike.
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