Featured Artist: Helen Zughaib

14 Jun

Originally Posted on May 11th, 2011

Cross posted from the Empowered Women International, We the People Project Blog:
                                                                                 “Abaya Driving”
Exhibiting artist Helen Zughaib was born in Beirut, Lebanon, living mostly in the Middle East and Europe before coming to the United States to study art. She received her BFA from Syracuse University, College of Visual and Performing Arts in 1981.   She paints using gouache and ink on paper, transforming her subjects into a combination of colors and patterns, creating a nontraditional sense of space and perspective.

Her work has been widely exhibited in galleries and museums in the United States, Europe and Lebanon. Her paintings are included in many private and public collections, including the White House, World Bank, Library of Congress, US Consulate General, Vancouver, Canada, American Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, and the Arab American National Museum in Detroit, Michigan. In 2008, she served as United States Cultural Envoy to the West Bank, Palestine. In 2009, she was sent to Switzerland under the State Department’s Speaker and Specialist Program. Most recently, President Obama gave one of Zughaib’s pieces to Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki of Iraq, upon his official visit to the White House, and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, gave one of her pieces to the King of Morocco.

Helen is exhibiting seven works in the We the People Project.  The 4 Father Stories included in the We the People Project exhibit were inspired by true stories told by Helen’s father of his childhood and young adulthood in Damascus and Lebanon.  In all, the series is composed of 22 paintings and stories. Each painting is related to one of his stories from his youth before immigrating to America from Lebanon. The other 3 pieces in this show represent the strength, beauty and perserverance of women in the face of adversity.

As an Arab American, Helen feels that her background in the Middle East allows her to approach the experiences she has in America, in a unique way, remaining an observer of both the Arab and American cultures. She believes that the arts are one of the most important tools we have to help shape and foster dialogue and positive ideas between the Middle East and the United States.


View all of Helen’s works for the We The People Project 2011.


Visit Helen’s Website to learn more about her work.


Every Tuesday and Thursday, we will be featuring a new We the People Project 2011 exhibiting artist.


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