Meet the 44 Gaukel Tenants: Juan Lopezdabdoub

juan lopezdabdoub headshot in Mexico

Meet Juan Lopezdabdoub

Juan Lopezdabdoub is an award winning multidisciplinary visual artist whose varied and extraordinary works encourage pertinent discussion amongst the viewers. Juan’s work presents powerful narratives as he employs mythological iconography layered with philosophical introspection, and striking thematic contrast. His works are visual commentaries on the current pressing economical, political, cultural and social issues that our world is facing and the emotional weight it carries.

This weight can be felt in the displayed emotions of the figures, but also just as effectively, in the heavy dramatic tension created by the juxtaposing of disparate images and elements joined together in a striking and often surprising balance. Juan imagery seeks to promote a better understanding of the human condition, and the ways in which all people are united and inextricably linked regardless of our differences.

Juan had moved to Canada from El Salvador with his family in 1991, and has a BFA from University of Manitoba in addition to a Bachelor of Education. Juan lives and works here in Kitchener where he supports his work by teaching Spanish language. ArtsBuild Ontario sat down with Juan and asked a few questions to get to know him and the way he works a little better.

Trinidad, Cuba. Digital Photograph, 2011 Juan Lopezdabdoub
Trinidad, Cuba. Photograph, 2011 Juan Lopezdabdoub

How long have you been at 44 Gaukel? When did you move in?

I have been at 44 Gaukel for one year. I moved on May 1st, 2018.

 What are some of the things you enjoy about working in Downtown Kitchener? 

I love to have Victoria Park only one block away where I can go to have my lunch in a beautiful and relaxing area.

Where is your local go-to lunch place, if you have one?

When I don’t bring lunch from home, I usually go to Williams or to Matter of Taste to grab a croissant. I love to have Mi Tienda Latina just across the street where I can go to pick up a couple of Salvadorean pupusas or tamales for lunch.

Mi Tienda Latina Food Store
Mi Tienda Latina is found at 103 Ontario St S, Kitchener

What is your general day-to-day like at work? 

My day-to-day work is pretty much busy with teaching Spanish or working on course material for classes. I strive to have some time to work on my visual work. Due to the fact that I don’t have the space where I can have the freedom to make a mess, which is one of the byproducts of working on paintings or ceramics, I concentrate on videos, digital work and on photography.

That makes sense. What do you find are your most important tools when working? Anything you can’t get through the day without?

My Mac, my Nikon, my cell and access to the Internet.

What might someone be surprised to know about you/ your company?

Some people may be surprised to know that I am half Palestinian and half Latin American.

Who are some of your biggest influences?

My biggest influences, of course, were the family, the culture, and the society in which I grew up. And some of the people I most admire are, George Harrison and Sixto Rodriguez, the mostly unknown American musician and South African cultural phenomenon subject of the awards winner documentary, “Searching for Sugar Man”.

Searching For Sugarman Sixto Rodriguez documentary poster


What is one thing that you wish everyone else knew about your field? Any misconceptions that you’ve heard and like to address? 

In terms of Spanish, I would like people who are interested in learning Spanish to know that Spanish is not an easy language to learn in only 10 classes. Also, to be prepared for the fact that, in many cases, the logics of Spanish won’t make any sense to them, in the same way that English does not make sense to Spanish speakers.

In terms of art, it would be wonderful if our society and governments recognize that, it is not because of their ability to make business that the great civilizations of the past are famous for, but for their creation of cultural products.

What is next for you, anything in the works?

I am working on a large photographic project of which I would love to talk about once it is finished and ready to be shared with the public.

How very exciting! Thank you for sharing today.

To see Juan’s work, go to To learn about Juan’s Spanish language program, check

Juan Lopezdabdoub's painting image. The Garden of Earthly Delights after El Bosco Oil on canvas. 60" x 48"
The Garden of Earthly Delights after El Bosco. Oil on canvas 60″ x 48″