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'Maiga's Stories': Book Launch Event
with an exhibition of the artwork of Viestarts Aistars
Kalamazoo artist, Anna Zalinskis Ill, has taken on the daunting task of translating her mother’s words, spoken and written in Latvian, across time and cultural barriers into English text. Reading Maiga’s Stories of her childhood in Latvia, her tender youth, and eventually of years tainted by war as she grows into a young woman and mother, I can hear the whispers of my own ancestors. They, too, grew up in Latvia and experienced the same war and the same Displacement Camps in Germany. Latvian readers will identify. But so will others, because Maiga’s voice is authentic, sincere, a mix of youthful mischief and angst with moments of humor. The stories read as one would expect from recordings and journals—bits of story left to the imagination, but enough to restore Maiga to life, become vivid and memorable in our imagination.
- Zinta Aistars, Writer
Opening Reception: August 5, 2022 during Art Hop
An exhibition of the artwork of Viestarts Aistars
Viestarts Aistars was born in 1927 in Latvia. He immigrated to the United States in the aftermath of World War II, when Latvia was occupied by the Soviet army and the Aistars family was listed for deportation to concentration camps in Siberia. Much of Aistars’ work reflects the home he lost, with frequent themes of Latvian culture and folklore, seascapes recalling the Baltic Sea, or the forests he wandered in his childhood.
Watercolor Landscape by Viestarts Aistars
Vicki Nelson: Paintings of Guatemala
Opening Reception: November 4, 2022 during Art Hop
The paintings in this exhibition reflect my experiences traveling to the Highlands of Guatemala over the past 19 years.
In some ways this area of Guatemala has become very familiar to me, while in other ways the culture remains a mystery. Indigenous Mayans, who speak their own native languages other than Spanish and who have been widely exploited and discriminated against by the culture that evolved during the 5 centuries since Europeans arrived, have preserved much of their own traditions and values largely in secret.
Familiar yet mysterious, the everyday experiences of the people I have encountered intrigue me. They are the subject of this group of paintings. -VN