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Exhibition Art in Action: Herblock and Fellow Artists Respond to Their Times

Helen Zughaib (b. 1959). Unfinished Journeys, from the artist’s Arab Spring series, 2015. Screenprint. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. © Helen Zughaib, used by permission (029.00.00)

Syrian Refugee Crisis

This exquisite image by Lebanese-American artist Helen Zughaib memorializes Syrian refugees who drowned in 2015 while trying to reach the Greek island of Kos, by commemorating one victim, a small boy. Zughaib explains that she chose bright colors and patterns to express “. . . the beauty, hope, and optimism of a child. With these shoes, I am hoping someone will try to imagine their own children in this situation.” The blue Islamic-inspired patterning, watery swirls, dark background, and corner placement of shoes, as when entering a mosque, all suggest a prayerful memorial.