Des Moines
Des Moines

this week

weekly art forecasts from Central Iowa

Who’s exhibiting and opportunities for artists

The Art of New Iowans

Global Views, Polk County Heritage Gallery

Closes October 4, 2012

Installation shot, photo from Monika Agic

Review by Alissa

September 21, 2012

“Art opens us to an empathetic encounter with the stranger, revealing what we have in common, generating new possibilities in our minds and hearts, and turning ‘otherness’ into a source of growth.” ~ Parker Palmer, Healing the Heart of Democracy (Excerpt from the curator statement)

The artists featured in the Polk County Heritage Gallery’s current exhibit hail from hometowns scattered across Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa.  They work in a range of styles and media as varied as the countries from which they immigrated.  They are essentially “strangers”, but they have one thing in common:  They are now Iowans.

“Hope is the Thing With Feathers”, Hilde De Bruyne

Curated by Heritage Gallery board member Mary Brubaker, “Global Views, The Art of New Iowans” is the gallery’s contribution to the 2012 Artstop. Conveniently situated just steps from Court Avenue, the show has several notable works. While each artist’s style and heritage is unique, there are several standouts that caught this reviewer’s eye.

Hilde De Bruyne‘s (Belgium) fluid ceramic work, including “Hope is the Thing With Feathers”, greets you upon entering the gallery.  Born into a family of artists and now living in rural Iowa, her work is poetically titled and has a graceful gravity about it.

“Immigrant Family”, Dawn Oropeza

In contrast, Dawn Oropeza’s (Mexico) stark yet intricate mixed media piece,  “Immigrant Family”, offers a political commentary on the immigration crisis in our country and our state.  Now a Des Moines resident, the artist has studied extensively at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (B.F.A.) and University of California, San Diego (M.F.A.).  Her academic background and involvement in international art and cultural affairs is evident in her work.

The precise, contained beauty of Senid Tabakovic’s (Bosnia) work has been seen around town in such shows as Fluxx Gallery’s “Young Bloods”, and remains fresh and engaging.  A graduate of Grand View College, Tabakovic’s mixed media work is ordered, whimsical, and almost engineer-like in execution.

Linda Folden's “Angry Boy”

The ceramic sculptures of Linda Folden (Hong Kong) are heavily influenced by her family and demonstrate a great affection for and understanding of her children and grandchildren. “Angry Boy” captures a tot in such a realistic freeze-frame of a tantrum that it elicited both gasps and chuckles from the crowd wandering past.

In her curator statement, Brubaker writes, “We have no Statue of Liberty with a lamp lighting the way for the foreign-born to Iowa’s ‘shores’, but we have opportunities for a new life, friendships, jobs, and welcoming communities.”  Perhaps this exhibit will give these artists the exposure and recognition necessary to further establish them in the arts community of Des Moines and light the way to further opportunities.

The Heritage Gallery is located at 111 Court Avenue, and is open to visitors Monday-Friday from 11:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.  “Global Views” is on display through October 4.  For more information, call 515-286-2242.