Soraya Ghazi Lutes is a contemporary realist painter who creates intimate portraits of fruits and vegetables. Her focus is the intricate details of these miraculous jewels we eat. Placing them in an religious setting, in a place of honor, gilded with pattern, is a request by the artist to look at their extraordinary and complex beauty.
Soraya was born 1973 in White Plains, NY to immigrant parents from Finland and India. Three years later, after her parents divorced, Soraya’s mother returned to Finland to raise her two children in Tampere. A happy childhood steeped in Finland’s love of nature and respect for tranquility instilled a deep sense of self for Soraya.
In 1987 Soraya, her mother and brother returned to live in the US, settling in Columbia, Maryland. At the age of 14 the transition from Finland to America was a culture shock. Stepping into this new linguistic and social environment, Soraya found sure footing in the strength of her artistic skills and went on to pursue a career in the visual arts. In 1995 she graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Textile Design.
After almost 20 years as a Textile Designer, in 2014, a chance opportunity given to her husband to restore the family estate of impressionist painter Frederick Frieske in Normandy France, propelled Soraya to a career change.
In this bucolic and tranquil setting Soraya had the opportunity to solely concentrate on fine art. In that creative pot, long held on the back burner, fascinations with botanical illustration, islamic patterns and Russian Orthodox Icons from her youth, became her work. Soraya taught herself to gesso wood boards, paint with egg tempera, and gild.
These Icons are her first series of paintings.