Library hosts Indigenous art show
Ruth Wydeven to visit Waupaca
The Waupaca Library Exhibit Room will reopen Sept. 8 through Nov. 13 with “Beyond Borders: Indigenous Artwork of Latin America.”
The exhibit will feature Ruth Wydeven’s surrealist oil paintings, which are inspired by her extensive backpacking journeys through Mexico, Central and South America.
“From ‘urban jungles’ (with incredible galleries and museums) – to remote communities in the Amazon Basin – to villages high in the Andes Mountains – I wander slowly with a thirsty mind,” according to Wydeven’s personal website. “Oftentimes I travel solo, using local buses, eating in busy markets, staying in simple accommodations, and hiking through the countryside or national parks.”
Originally from Kimberly, Wisconsin, Wydeven currently lives in Greeley, Colorado, where she was a high school art teacher for 20 years until her recent retirement.
She took her first solo trip to Central America in 1978 when she was 24 years old, traveling by public buses from Costa Rica to Mexico for five months.
Wydeven later spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, Africa.
In 2006, she began making annual two-month trips to South America.
“When traveling, I wander from community to community, attempting to discover what the local artisans are still making by hand, versus machine-made products,” Wydeven said. “Sadly, the handmade artwork is becoming harder and harder to find.”
She is an award-winning, internationally renowned artist. Her paintings can be found in private and public collections in the U.S., Peru, Ecuador, Germany, England, West Africa, Japan and Portugal.
Prior to teaching, she was a commercial artist. Her art is also an expression of her own spiritual journey.
“My spiritual journey is a non-traditional blend of numerous pathways, including Andean cosmology,” Wydeven told the Waupaca County Post. “I also love storytelling, and honoring human similarities versus differences. In this exhibit, my goal is to teach the local community of the people and environment that lie south of our U.S. border.”
Wydeven noted that humans have a tendency to fear people and things that they know little about.
“I deeply honor the Indigenous for continuing to embrace the spirit world and the natural world in spite of pressures from the material world,” she said.
In addition to her paintings, the exhibit will feature textiles, jewelry, pottery and photographs from her travels.
Wydeven will visit Waupaca on Wednesday, Sept. 8, for the opening of the exhibit and a meet and greet on the library lawn from 3-7 p.m.
The Exhibit Room is located in the lower level of the library.
Wydeven’s exhibit is free and open to the public during regular library hours.