Inspired by family stories, research and photos of the minority culture of Arabic Jews who were rescued from Yemen, this glass mosaic embodies the stories of not only my family but also many immigrants in search of a better life. Most notable are this man’s eyes, which reveal years of hardship combined with resilience and faith. His worn expression and walking stick hint at his long harsh journey. His clothing and the embroidery design are both historically accurate and tell much about his culture, faith and low status in society.
Over the past three years I have been sketching and painting images of Yemenite immigrants as studies for glass mosaic portraits. Using hundreds of pieces of glass, I hand cut and carefully assembled the glass on top of a fully realized wood panel painting. The pattern of glass beads incorporated into this mosaic represent a traditional embroidery design. By creating these portraits, it is my hope to teach about this minority culture whose experiences are both unique and universal and begin conversations about misperceptions about refugees from many areas of the world .