Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Women in the News

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Women in the News

Article excerpt

For the first time in nearly 80 years, a woman has won the world's most prestigious mathematics prize, the Fields Medal.

Maryam Mirzakhani, a 37-year-old mathematics professor at Stanford University, was awarded the "Nobel Prize of math" at a ceremony in Seoul on Aug. 13. Born and raised in Iran, Mirzakhani attended Sharif University in Tehran and Harvard University. Christiane Rousseau, vice president of the International Mathematics Union, said: "It's an extraordinary moment. Marie Curie had Nobel prizes in physics and chemistry at the beginning of the 20th century, but in mathematics this is the first time we have a woman winning the most prestigious prize there is. This is a celebration for women."

Helen Zughaib's solo exhibit, "Fractured Spring," opened at the Jerusalem Fund Gallery in Washington, DC on Sept. 5 and will run until Oct. 17. Her stunning new works include paintings, calligraphy and installations, many of them multiple pieces, "fractured" in some way to indicate her concern with the consequences of ongoing conflicts in Arab world. Using gouache and hand-inked repetitive calligraphy, Zughaib takes on Western misperceptions of Middle Eastern women. Her "Generations Lost" painting depicts veiled women wearing bright patterned dresses, holding photos of their lost loved ones. An installation piece, "Spring Memorial 3," shows a chalk outline of a victim at a crime scene. Zughaib has inserted dozens of white ceramic poppies into her outline, bringing to mind her previous memorial installations, in which she used silk flowers to cover a dishdasha and a keffiyeh to immortalize the dead in the Arab Spring. Below the "body" are broken traditional Syrian tiles.

Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Zughaib's work has been widely exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. Her paintings have hung in the White House, World Bank, Library of Congress, and the American Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. …

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