reem bassous and artwork
Reem Bassous and her print

A Leeward Community College instructor is one of five local artists who have been selected to create works reflecting the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. Reem Bassous’ work is part of the new Limited Edition Portfolio Collection from the Friends of Hawaiʻi State Art Museum, which features four other local female artists—Deb Nehmad, Pegge Hopper, Sally French and Mary Mitsuda. Their limited edition prints along with six original works will be on public display at Halekulani Hotel through April 30.

“I’m truly honored to be a part of this project,” said Bassous whose screenprint is entitled Silent Strong.

“The purple ink-stained fingertip is emblematic of women who vote. The finger covers the mouth, showing that women are still silenced all over the world, though that does not negate their strength. The nose is outlined with an Arabic word ‘oontha,’ which translates to ‘female,’” Bassous explained. “The arches are a nod to the Hawaiʻi State Art Museum’s iconic arches as well as to those found all over the Middle East. The background screen is a poster from the Equal Suffrage Association on why women should vote. The image confronts us with fact, reminds us of our duty to vote and cautions us of issues yet to be overcome.”

Bassous started teaching drawing and painting in 2001. Her regional and national exhibitions include solo shows at the Honolulu Museum of Art, SBCAST Gallery in Santa Barbara and the Washington Studio School Gallery in Washington, D.C. Her work has been reviewed by publications including the Washington Post, Art Asia Pacific and Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Bassous’ work is in permanent collections in the Honolulu Museum of Art and Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture and Design.

—By Kathleen Cabral