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Saturday, March 13, 2010

LORETO - The Voices of Loreto Women

Loreto Art Exposition
by Jeannine Perez

The sun was high and warm in the sky, breeze friendly , and none of the previous weeks of strong wind or dust blew up to mar a perfect Saturday in Loreto’s historic Museum courtyard; the Saturday of March 13.

”Canto de Sirena Entre Color y Letros ” was the title chosen for a very unique art exposition.  A wide variety of  paintings, poetry and stories displayed, were representations of the voices of Loreto women; honest and sometimes exposing raw emotions that are the universal feelings in women everywhere. Expressing those inner feelings of our joys, tears, fears, and losses, happiness, and sorrows made this a very different and personal art exposition, and the crowds that filled the courtyard after cutting the red ribbon in the entry of the museum seemed receptive to the theme. Looking at the art, and reading the poems gave all of us much to think about and discuss.

Other than the old diaries and journals sometimes found in attics and basements, we know little of the daily struggles and achievements of women through the centuries.  A Loreto art class and  literature class  decided that this “Year of the Tiger”, is the time for women’s voices to be heard.  They discussed the philosophy of “Wabisabi”, the ability to find beauty in what is plain, ugly and ordinary.  As women, we have often been called upon to do this, and much of the courtyard art reflected that talent.

The different subjects, mediums used, and artist’s styles were amazing, and to try and compare them would be like comparing pineapples to yams. Many of the paintings were self-portraits, others were images of others, or of children and even mermaids.  Emotions depicted in the art and writings ranged  from celebration to fear, happiness to sadness.  Each told a story, and the story told was different for each of us, as we interpreted it through the lens of our own culture and life experiences. The paintings on display showed courage and power, and some were disturbing, speaking to us in dark colors of loss and pain.

About a month or more ago, Lizette Inzuna and Ileana Hernandez came up with the idea for a display honoring women, that would also speak in the voices of today’s women. March 8th was this year’s International Day of Women, and so the timing was appropriate.

All of the expenses for materials, posters, decorations, printing, and refreshments were donated by the participants, making it non-religious and non-political, and with a goal of simply reaching and touching the community. Lizette’s son created the logo used for the exposition; a striking looking gold symbol on a dark background, that was then used to also make a poster, bookmarks, and tickets.

A crowd of more than 100 gravitated around the displays, to  benches and , and finally to the tables of refreshments, agreeing there, that this was a true representation of what it means to be a woman in this place and this time. It has been said that men write the history, but it is women who live and feel it, and in this exposition, we also expressed it.

The ancient stone walls of the Mission, with imbedded shells, the tree sculpture, and the museum artifacts all gave me a sense of the presence of women who, centuries ago, lived, loved, laughed, and cried within the walls that now surrounded art done by women of this century.

The voices of Loreto women….It is our time in history…hear us. We have much to say.