Visiting Artist, Helen Zughaib, inspired Middle School students to reflect on themes of heroism and migration during a recent series of workshops at Whittle School & Studios DC Campus. A Lebanese-born mixed-media artist currently living in Washington, DC, Zughaib uses art as a medium to foster dialogue and encourage an exchange of ideas between the Middle East and the United States. Her work is an expression of her roots in Syria and Lebanon as well as a meditation on how her past informs her experiences in America.
Zughaib also worked with 8th-grade students on a project that had them reflect on the Arab Spring, migration, and water. She explained the Arab Spring and the start of the Syrian conflict through the lens of, and as a byproduct of, global warming and drought. Students studied Zughaib’s artwork from her “Syrian Migration Series” and the inspiration she took from Jacob Lawrence’s “Migration Series”. Lawrence is famed for this series of artwork that details the movement of African Americans from the south to the north over the course of the 20th Century.
Taking cues from Zughaib’s and Lawrence’s series on migration, students created their own mixed-media collages on the topic of water. Water is a major theme for our 8th-grade students this year and is a common thread in many of their classes from STEM to Humanities and Creative Arts & Design. This interdisciplinary approach will culminate in a class book each student is creating that will detail their research of societal, scientific, environmental and current events relating to water.
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