Global artists bring paintings of compassion to BAYarts

A painting by Hussein Ghareeb is part of the compassion-themed exhibit on display at BAYarts.

Currently on display in BAYarts' Sullivan Gallery is an exhibition titled "Paintings of Compassion" by the Artists in Bloom Community, founded by Virginia Maloof Cascarilla.

Cascarilla says her mission is to "mentor people into translating their life experiences into visual poetry." The community is comprised of people from several different countries, including Iraq, India, Syria, Bahrain and the U.S. Along with translating their life experiences into art, the group aims to "raise consciousness about global and personal issues and interests." And so for this exhibition, they focused on compassion.

Healing and transformation are some of the other core themes within the community. "Painting allows us the opportunity to process the experiences of life and co-create," explains Cascarilla. "Our work validates our transformation from broken to healing. Engaging in the process of making art is at once healing and liberating. I teach strategies for ‘seeing again for the first time’ and an approach to one’s work which encourages authenticity. Artists in Bloom Community helps one another find meaning and dignity."

Cascarilla believes a restorative process "depends on the recognition of our own woundedness" and that recovery happens "when we become sources of life and healing for others."

The Artists in Bloom Community has been around for a decade, and Cascarilla says it grew organically. "I'm the founder, but each person contributes to creating the energy of the community. We contribute energy, share resources and encourage one another. As a community, we witness the struggles and triumphs of value, content, form, and design which enter into each work."

The exhibition features powerful images. Cascarilla says one of her favorite paintings in the show is an eagle by John Weeden, because it represents "greed and power versus humanity as represented by the starving child." Another one of her favorite's in the show is Hussein Mayyahi’s painting of refugees in search of asylum. Hussein and his wife, Needa, are both refugees from Iraq.

Learn more about the Artists in Bloom Community at

Cascarilla's work can be found on her website. Her professional artwork is represented in both private and public collections. She has always volunteered in the arts. One of the key projects she's done is to create The Art Lady Program for elementary school students at St. Mark's and St. Luke's in Cleveland. Along with volunteering for homeless and disabled individuals, she also designs official holiday cards for Project ALS.

The "Paintings of Compassion" exhibition will be on display through Aug. 4. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., or by appointment.

Jessica Stockdale

Jessica Stockdale is the Marketing Manager at BAYarts.

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Volume 10, Issue 14, Posted 10:04 AM, 07.17.2018