7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #473: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator Helen Zughaib

h1 March 6th, 2016 by jules

Out of the Box


My guest today is artist Helen Zughaib, who was born in Beirut. Helen says she knew she wanted a life of painting and making art when she was very young and cites Matisse, Rousseau, Mondrian, and Jacob Lawrence as influences. Growing up primarily in the Arab world, she says, also influenced her — “the light, the patterns and colors on carpets, tiles, and buildings that surrounded me.”


Women Against the Night
(Click to enlarge)


Veil of Dreams


She graduated from Syracuse University, College of Visual and Performing Arts, in 1981 and, as you can read here at her site, her artwork has been exhibited in galleries and museums in the United States, Europe, and Lebanon. Currently, she is an artist in residence at Wesley Theological Seminary and is preparing for a solo exhibit at York College in October. She recently returned from Paris, where she had a solo show. She loves to work in gouache. “It provides such rich, clean color,” she says. “I use it very opaquely, as you can see from my style.”




Witness 2


Weeping Woman Three


At her site, Helen writes that she believes that the arts are one of the most important ways to help shape dialogue around positive ideas about the Middle East. “Especially since 9/11,” she tells me, “things have changed so much. The immediate backlash towards Arabs and Arab Americans and the negative stereotyping that followed were quite upsetting to me. My work addresses some of this with humor — and a bit of irony, too. I continue to raise the voice of Arabs through my art and hope to build bridges between East and West. We are more alike than not, and I strive for this realization.”


Secret Lie Self


White House


I Am Not Who You Think I Am


Veiled Secrets


Helen’s art has been included in several books, including Honoring Our Ancestors, edited by Harriet Rohmer, and a book called Laila’s Wedding, written by Kaleel Sakakeeny. She also has a series at her site, called Stories My Father Told Me, which she hopes to publish one day. “Stories My Father Told Me,” she says, “is a series of 24 paintings inspired by my father’s true stories from his early childhood in Damascus, Syria, to young adulthood in Lebanon and finally his immigration to America in 1946. His telling them to his children and grandchildren continue the tradition of the ‘hakawati’ or storyteller in Arabic, stories passed down from generation to generation to teach the young about values, morals, and family traditions in their community.”


— From Stories My Father Told Me


Thanks to Helen for visiting and sharing her artwork today! Perhaps one day we readers can hold in our hands an illustrated collection of her father’s stories. …

All artwork is used by permission of Helen Zughaib.

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) I am nearly done with a piano piece I’ve been working on for months.

2) Warmer days.

3) Finishing up some great new books (read-alouds) with my daughters.

4) I was downright giddy at the chance to interview Mildred D. Taylor.

5) House of Cards is back.

6) When you see your name in unexpected places.

7) Finally saw Spotlight. I was impressed.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

11 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #473: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator Helen Zughaib”

  1. Helen Zughaib’s work is stunning. I love the Veiled Secrets and Veil of Dreams.
    Jules, you got to nterview Mild red D. Taylor, wow! Am passing the interview onto colleagues.
    My kicks:
    1. A guest speaker on Braille to a second grade class. They got to write their name in Braille. One boy was really taken with it.
    2. Pad Thai at the local.food cart pavillion.
    3. Reading Delicious by Rachel Reichl.
    4. Saturday exploring.
    5. Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teacher.
    6. Getting caught up.
    7. Oregano and thyme for my planter.
    Have a good week.

  2. 1. Remembering to ask for help
    2. Having great friends who will help!
    3. Watching Gravity Falls (THANKS for the tip)
    4. One last winter hurrah–outdoor ice skating. Now onto warm weather.
    5. Tamarind rice, coconut chutney, mango lassi
    6. getting some exercise
    7. spring cleaning ALL my household hazardous waste

    I feel like these kicks are a little boring, but boring can be good.

  3. Fly by posting! Hi Imps! Hi Helen! Happy Sunday!

    Jules: Go piano girl GO!

    Jone: That’s awesome. I hope that their time with the speaker encourages the students to learn more about different forms of communication and connectivity.

    My kicks from the past week:
    1. Filming
    2. Writing
    3. Laughing
    4. Discussing
    5. Conferring
    6. Revising
    7. Discovering

  4. The emotion in Helen’s art is really striking. My favorites are Veil of Dreams and the 3 pieces from Stories My Father Told Me.

    Jules – good luck with that piano piece! Hurray for warmer days, and House of Cards returning (I have 2 episodes to go in Season 3). Spotlight is on my list, glad to hear it was impressive.

    Jone – what a great opportunity for the students. Pad thai = yum!

    Cindy – hurrah for spring cleaning & outdoor ice skating!

    LW – thanks for the healing thoughts for Daisy last week & the note just for her – words do have power & she is doing great. Kick #3 is my favorite.

    My kicks this week:
    1) Daisy is healing so well – stitches come out this week.
    2) French Market coffee this morning.
    3) Daffodils in bloom on my table.
    4) Paris Geller is awesome. (Almost done with Gilmore Girls on Netflix.)
    5) Reading Teatime for the Firefly by Shona Patel.
    6) A quick 10 minute yoga practice wake-up this morning, courtesy of Yoga with Adrienne.
    7) Timbers season opener today. Go Timbers!

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  5. Good morning everyone! Thank you Jules for highlighting the work of Helen Zughaib. I am particularly fond of Veil of Dreams, the pieces in Stories My Father Told Me and Women Against The Night. I really enjoyed your article and interview with Mildred D. Taylor. Congratulations on the piano piece!
    Jone: The guest speaker on Braille sounds completely fascinating. Happy to read about the one special connection.
    Your meal sounds delicious Cindy.
    I’ll take laughter every day of the week Little Willow.
    I am so happy to read the good news about Daisy Rachel.

    My kicks:
    1. Wherever I go mountain views. Although the one from my window is hard to beat.
    2. Laughter from reading to kindergarten students
    3. Cooking for friends new recipe brussels sprouts, sleeks, lemon and rigatoni
    4. Watching The Martian; no wonder it received a couple of nominations
    5. Bouquets of tulips
    6. Amaryllis blooming
    7. Walking three miles every single day.

    Have a wonderful week everyone.

  6. Jone, it’s funny: A lot of people, for some reason, think sign language interpreters (which is what I used to do) work with blind people and know Braille. If I had a dime every time I was asked that … I’m glad your students learned that and that you had a good week.

    Cindy, the more pedestrian kicks are often the best. It means, at the very least, we’re not living in, say, great tragedy (if that makes any sense). I’m glad you’re enjoying Gravity Falls!

    Little Willow: A fly-by hello to you! Have a good week.

    Rachel, House of Cards this season is a little bit wild. Thus far. I’m five eps in. … I’m so happy to read Daisy is still doing well!

    Margie: I’m so glad you’re settled in and happy in a home with mountain views. Duuuude. That’s gotta be lovely. I miss that about East Tennessee. … I love walking. I wish we could walk together!

    Have a good week, all!

  7. Cindy: I want to watch Gravity Falls – I know it recently ended, but I feel like I should at least watch the first episode and see what I think!

    Rachel: YAY DAISY YAY! Enjoy the flowers, the yoga, and the entertainment.

    Daisy: Hi pup! I just wrapped a movie in which I played a character with a flower name. I’ll take that as a sign of good things for you, pup.

    Margie: Laughter is the best medicine. Hurrah for the lovely walks, and the spring flowers!

  8. Margie – mountain views and walks with such views sounds wonderful. Laughter is the best.

    LW – Daisy thanks you & I thank you for the good thoughts. Congrats on wrapping the movie!

    Jules – just got my copy of Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms – so excited to read it!

  9. Rachel: YAY!

  10. fascinating art. Thanks as always Jules.

    My kicks:

    1. Spent five packed days doing poetry (for adults and kids) in St Andrews, Scotland

    2. New book–WHAT TO DO WITH A BOX has two starred review and already reprinting.

    3. New book ON BIRD HILL already has one starred review.

    4. Recovering from a fall two weeks ago, not slowed down. . .much.

    5. Back to walking 2-3 miles a day.

    6. Picture Book Boot Camp about to start end of the month at my house.

    7. Voted by absentee ballot in the Massachusetts primary.

  11. Jane, glad you’re doing a-okay after a fall! I wish I could be a fly on the wall during Picture Book Camp.

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