Stories My Father Told Me: Memories of a Childhood in Syria and Lebanon by Helen Zughaib and Elia Zughaib
Twenty-five paintings by Helen Zughaib accompanied by text based on favorite stories told by her father about life in Syria and Lebanon in the 1930s and during World War II.
Helen's father was born in the Old Quarter of Damascus during Ottoman times, when Le Grande Syrie included the lands that are now demarked as Syria and Lebanon. His father and mother, first cousins in an arranged marriage, were from the villages of Zahle and Durer Shweir in the Lebanese mountains, first cousins in an arranged marriage.
"Let me tell you a story," Helen Zughaib's father used to say. What followed were absorbing tales of her father's childhood in Damascus, village life in Lebanon in the late 1930s, amusing relatives, happenings the traditions of in their local Greek Orthodox Church, and major events in her father's young life that lead him to emigrate to the United States in 1946.
Helen Zughaib is an award-winning artist who has developed a distinctive technique working in gouache and ink. She was born in Beirut and educated in the Middle East, Paris, and the US. She is currently based in Washington.
Zughaib uses folkloric elements and a wide variety of other visual references to express the life and outlook of her family, the village community of her father's young adult life, and her position as an international woman with special insight and empathy for the Middle East and its people.
Critics note the parallels between Zughaib's work as an artist with Arab roots to the art of contemporary "Native, Latin, and African American communities." (Maymanah Farhat)