New exhibit: Human rights issues addressed from a bilingual perspective

SOS (Save Our Souls) ART has partnered with the Fitton Center to bring its latest exhibition,” Human Rights: Derechos Humanos” to the Greater Cincinnati area.

“I felt like it would be great to give the opportunity to artists, not only from Cincinnati, but Cincinnati and Oaxaca, Mexico to use their art to address an important human rights issue, and to see that unfold from the perspective of two different cultures,” said Saad Ghosn, founder of SOS Art and curator of the exhibition.

SOS’s “Human Rights: Derechos Humanos” is a traveling exhibition that will be on view at the Fitton Center through March 11, 2022. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

“Saad put this together around the theme of human rights, because he wanted to integrate these ideas across different cultural perspectives,” said Cathy Mayhugh, director of exhibitions at the Fitton Center.

Each artist created one artwork, addressing a particular theme of human rights. The pieces were installed at the Fitton Center gallery in pairs.

“In general, there is one print from a Cincinnati area artist, and one print from an Oaxaca artist, addressing the same human right, for example, the right to health,” Mayhugh said.

This portfolio of woodcut prints on “Human Rights” is a project of SOS ART in collaboration with Taller Burro Press in Oaxaca, Mexico. The exhibition consists of 25 prints by 12 artists from Oaxaca and 12 artists from Cincinnati, each addressing one of 12 human rights, and the 25th print, or cover page, was created by Cincinnati area artist Ken Swinson.

Swinson is a printmaker who lives in rural Kentucky. His recent studies in Mexico were an inspiration to use traditional printmaking as a tool to advance cross cultural understanding and arts in rural spaces.

“This project was important to me, not only because I believe in human rights, but Cincinnati and Oaxaca are both special places that have become part of my identity as an artist. There are differences between the people of the USA and Mexico (like the language difference) that make it hard to realize our shared humanity. One of the magical things about the arts is they transcend spoken language and give us an opportunity to better know one another,” expressed Ken Swinson in a statement on SOS’s website.

Ghosn said the purpose of the project was to challenge artists to create images and messages around human rights through a collaborative process across different cultures, and to raise funds for both SOS ART and Taller Burro Press for current and future endeavors.

He said the artists don’t know each other. The work itself was not collaborative, but it was collaborative in addressing the theme. Everyone worked on the theme the way they understood it, and they conveyed a message about human rights.

The portfolio has been printed in an edition of 50, 25 given to the 25 participating artists in both Cincinnati and Oaxaca, and the remaining 25 shared between SOS ART and Taller Burro Press for future sales. Each print is in black and white, 12×12″ centered on a 15×15″ Guarro Canson 250 g cotton paper. There will be two shows in both Cincinnati and Oaxaca, featuring the 25 portfolio prints. The exhibition is bilingual, so everything is in Spanish and English.

“Everybody was given a reference word in either Spanish or English to spark their creativity or imagination from, and the woodblock prints that were created here in the Cincinnati region were sent to Oaxaca and they were all printed on the same press,” said Ian MacKenzie-Thurley, executive director of the Fitton Center, “The exhibition is very strong and extremely powerful, so we’re excited to see it here at the Fitton Center.”

Born in Lebanon, Ghosn, a Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati, is the founder of SOS (Save Our Souls) ART, an organization that promotes the use of art as a vehicle for change and for a better world.

Now in its 20th year, SOS ( presents a yearly collective art exhibit and an art festival of creative expressions of local artists for peace and justice.

Ghosn will also be the featured guest speaker for Celebrating Self at the Fitton Center at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 12. Cost of tickets for Celebrating Self are $18 for members and $23 for non-members. For more details, go to

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