The Atrium Art Gallery at the University of Southern Maines Lewiston-Auburn College opens its summer exhibition Friday, June 17, with a reception free and open to the public from 6-8 p.m. Tell Me a Story: Folktales and World Cultures features childrens book illustrations by 13 Maine artists. The reception will feature a selection of Asian food, provided by Wei Li Restaurant in Auburn. Beverages will be provided by the Edward Little Music Association.
Running concurrently is Taiwan Sublime, a selection of photographs by Huang Ting-sheng, in the Hall Gallery. The exhibition is touring through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Boston. Taiwan Sublime also includes several Taiwanese puppets and traditional toys.
Artists with work in Tell Me a Story are Holly Berry, Ashley Bryan, Aileen Darragh, Jamie Hogan, Wendy Kindred, Holly Meade, Leane Morin, Anne Sibley OBrien, Mary Beth Owens, Rebekah Raye, Robert Shetterly, Helen Stevens, and Melissa Sweet. There are illustrations from more than 30 books representing a variety of cultures, from traditional folktales to others based on true stories. Internationally known artist Ashley Bryan has many illustrations from his award-winning books on African folktales. There is also be a selection of his puppets made from materials he finds near his home on Islesford, an island off the coast of Maine. The exhibition features a video of Ashley Bryan.
Represented in the exhibition are books about Uganda, Russia, Thailand, Paris, Korea, Ireland, Bangladesh, Japan, Jamaica, Romania, Ethiopia, Spain, Pacific Northwest, Passamaquoddy Native Americans, and others.
Audrey Maynard, childrens book editor for Tilbury House Publishers, remarks in the exhibition essay about the changes in the world of childrens literature over the past 25 years. She notes that from the careful renditions of the birchbark artistry of Passamaquoddy baskets, to the use of Romanian folkloric patterns, to the replication of Iranian rug designs, these illustrators worked with diligence to produce beautiful art that is culturally sensitive, accurate, and non-stereotypicThese are powerful stories that have been written to encourage young children to value the beauty and diversity of our world and to protect its handmade and distinctive qualities.” She continues, In the best multi-cultural books, it is often the illustrations that will light the way for the reader to embark on a unique journey of discovery.
The exhibition, supported by Bangor Savings Bank, is held in partnership with the Auburn Public Library and the Lewiston Public Library, both with a summer reading programs, One World, Many Stories.
The exhibition continues through August 12
Holly Berry, How Mama Brought the Spring, written by Fran Manushkin and Demon Slayer by Huang Ting-sheng