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Tekie Gebremichael, whose work will be on display at the show, hails from Eritrea.

Houston continues to garner an international reputation as a hospitable hub for refugees and immigrants, accepting transplants at nearly twice the national rate, according to the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. 

Some of these new Houstonians worked as acclaimed artists in their native countries, where they hosted renowned exhibitions and comfortably supported their families. In the U.S., they've found, life is vastly different. Due to language barriers, many displaced artists find it difficult to pique the interest of local galleries, instead accepting run-of-the-mill jobs as limousine drivers or security guards. What was once a career, necessity made into a hobby. Until now.

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Ammar Alobaidi and one of his abstract works.

The YMCA of Greater Houston’s International Services Department, one of the area’s largest nonprofit organizations helping to resettle refugees and immigrants, will host an art exhibit and silent auction on October 7 at St. John’s School. Triumph of the Human Spirit features refugee and immigrant artists who were critically acclaimed in their native countries.

The five participating artists, ranging in age from 28 to 56, come from Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, Yemen and Cuba. Although diverse in personality, experience and home country, they are linked by a common desire to create and share their art. Many of the works reflect the artists’ experiences of escaping war, political oppression and memories from home.

They’ll all be at the show, so stop by, take in their work and say hi.

Triumph of the Human Spirit Art Show and Auction. From 6–9 p.m. All proceeds from the sale of artwork will be shared equally between the artists and YMCA International Services. St. John’s School, 2401 Claremont Ln. ymcahouston.org

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