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Global Women Series: Soula, Lebanon
Painting in progress
multiple mediums
82 x 82 inches

Global Women Series
Kraft paper notes
preliminary study for paintings
82 x 82 inches

About Global Women Project

Over the next ten years I am devoting myself primarily to the "Global Women Project” (GWP). This evolving cycle of portraits chronicles thirteen women who are influential in their respective areas of the globe. Each of them are working to change their social, political and physical environments for the better. They will be portrayed with the objects and images that define their personalities, professional and spiritual purposes, while including the influences of their culture. The purpose in doing this as an art exhibit/installation is to offer inspiration and hope to multitudes of women across all borders through painting.

The Global Women Project will consist not just of the finished paintings but also the notations, studies and other preparatory materials that lead up to each painting so that the process of compiling information and deciding how to translate it to canvas will figure in the overall experience of the series. Having worked with Christo and Jeanne-Claude on the Running Fence project thirty years ago, I have long appreciated the conceptual underpinnings and the importance of process in an artistic project that exists in the social sphere. I regard GWP as a social as well as aesthetic effort.

In my quest for women to bring focus to the GWP I have been in many countries: United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, Colombia, Italy, Panama, Mexico and Lebanon. I was asked to sit on a panel in Colombia in an effort to incorporate the arts into primary education. Education is one of many issues facing humanity today that has made me keenly aware of a woman’s desire to educate their young. There are 60 million girls in the world not being educated. If all of those girls were educated, imagine the change that would occur in the world.

I have interviewed the first subjects: Nadine Al Bedair, a Saudi journalist/media personality in the Persian Gulf and Middle East is actively pursuing women's equal rights and the right to drive. She is also a producer and presenter for Rotana Media Services with her own television program Etijahat which is seen throughout Arabic speaking countries.

Soula Saad, an independent documentary filmmaker from Beirut is best known for Beirut Rising, a film that documents the nonviolent young people's movement that was triggered by the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on February 14, 2005. This moment in history caught by Soula's camera, documents the large percentage of Lebanese people, Muslim and Christian, both young and old, who gathered in solidarity for the love of their country. She is currently working on a documentary film about female musicians around the world called Women World Voices and Vision. Both women are contemporary examples of emerging independent women in the traditional Arab world.

Rossana Castrellon, Panama's former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs is an international trade and market management attorney (graduate of Harvard Law) and an innovative leader in Panamanian education. She remains a force in her country heading five major organizations on education, and among other things, the proper education of mentally challenged children. She has taken the lead in trying to bring the culture of lawfulness education to Panamanian schools.

I have been overwhelmed to learn that 99.9 percent of life exists in the sea. Miraculously, I was introduced to Dr. Sylvia Earle oceanographer and National Geographic explorer-in-residence. I first became fascinated when I heard about her work at the Sargasso Sea - a sea without shores. Sylvia is trying to save the oceans and is focusing on one simple idea: protecting them. She has established a global network of marine-protected areas called ‘Hope Spots,’ “to save and restore…the blue heart of the planet.”

The "Global Women Project" Limited Edition Art book (a new medium in the project) now on exhibit, presents several new portraits. We celebrate the women within three sections. The first four large canvases being “Heroes & Activists” all mentioned above. The next section is “The Future” presents Space: Sally Ride, Healing: Mother Earth – The International Council of Thirteen Grandmothers, Technology: Girls Who Code, Societal Evolution: Rita Borsellino. The third section is “The Warriors" and presents Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Baroness Caroline Cox of the UK, Almudena Bernabéu, J.D. of San Francisco, and Associate Justice Sonia Maria Sotomayor of Washington D.C.

One sees from our subjects, exploring the depth of our oceans and traveling to the stratosphere. Metaphorically, the book of the project currently on exhibit at Biennale Arte Dolomiti in the Alps of Northern Italy represents reaching great heights at this juncture.

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