Josephine Bou Zeid
Josephine was born in 1949 in Beirut; she grew up in Saifi, Gemmayze, and Medawwar, between her family's house and grandparent's home. She attended school in Beirut, and graduated from the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts (ALBA). She then traveled to France to specialize in Art Restoration, and organized personal exhibitions in France and England, where she also specialized in Educational Arts. In 1986, Josephine returned to Lebanon and was appointed as the Arts Department Director at the Centre for Educational Research and Development (CRDP).
Josephine, or Josee as she was called, was an organized, responsible woman. She was talented, opinionated, with a sense of humor. Her ambition ran wider than being a mere employee in a public institution; she decided to fly high, and started her own atelier and art gallery in Gemmayze –La Pyramide des Arts.
Her 400 square meters atelier was divided into multiple sections, a kids' art workshop, an art workshop for adults, and another for graduating high school students wishing to major in architecture.
Josee was a talented painter, and a published author on arts, painting, and music. She specialized in church iconography, particularly at the neighboring Saint Anthony Church. She was also a true humanitarian...
On August 4, 2020, she was meeting her sister Agnes for dinner; she called her to tell her about the fire at the port, and sent her a live photo she took from her art gallery, directly facing the site.
When the explosion happened, Agnes called Josee but there was no answer. She drove down from Naccache to the Forum de Beirut where she parked her car amidst the destruction, and walked to her sister's gallery; it was completely destroyed. Neighbors told her the building was empty, bust she was sure her sister was still inside. She went in through the rubble and saw Josee's leg. She pulled her out, and the civil defense team wrapped her up with the gallery's curtains because they didn’t have body bags on hand. Josee was evacuated to Hotel Dieu Hospital morgue, which was already full. Her body was piled on top of other bodies. She was picked up by her family the next day, at 7:00 AM, to be buried in the family's cemetery.