Sunday, March 3, 2013


The Cow's Name is Nora- Kosovo

  I first came across the artist BETTY LaDUKE (b. 1933) an Ashland, Oregon artist/teacher, writer and activist born of mixed ancestry to Russian and Polish parents, when one of our Oblates, Gretchen, loaned me some of Betty's books. Gretchen is very active in raising money and awareness for Heifer Project International, a non-profit, humanitarian organization dedicated to ending world hunger and saving the earth by providing livestock, trees, agricultural training and community development to aid poor families around the globe in their quest to be self-reliant.
Spinning Dreams- Ecuador

Betty has traveled to see Heifer's projects around the world in developing countries such as Cambodia, Ecuador, Peru, Poland, Rwanda, Uganda and Vietnam. Under Heifer’s mission, families may receive an animal which will help feed farmers and the community.
Passing on the Gift- Rwanda

When the animal is bred, the families will remain responsible for passing on the “gift” of enabling another family to do the same by donating one or more of their animals’ offspring. This ideal has inspired much of Betty's art in the past ten years.

Betty attended Denver University and the Cleveland Institute of Art, and then traveled to Mexico in 1953 to study at the Instituto Allende. She explored expressionism, cubism, and pre-Columbian Aztec and Mayan art. She continued to work in Mexico for another two years. During that time she painted murals in Otomi Indian villages for an organization sponsored by the United Nations and the Mexican government.

Her art reflects a genuine interest in the diversity of people, their traditions and the lifestyles of which she has respect, admiration and long standing relationships. Her fluid and bold style absorbed in spiritual and religious mystique are reflections of her sensitivity to the earth, her environment and world. “I very much start with the basis of their reality, then my own creative spirit takes over, so it becomes part of my experience, and a part of me,” LaDuke said.

"Leaving home annually for several weeks (since 1972) for Latin America, Asia, and Africa, to meet and learn about other women's lives and art, then returning home to my studio to portray their rites of passage in my paintings and etchings. A brief interaction made visible.
Saho Tree of Life- Eritrea

 Urban women and artists of Santiago, Chile; Kingston, Jamaica; and the villages of San Juanico, Mexico; Rumah Rawing, Borneo; Jitwapur, India; and Beleze, Eritrea are my heroines. They are our contemporary goddesses. Survivors of malnutrition, political oppression, even massacres, they block the movement of armed military personnel with sticks, stones, and their bodies to protect children. I have seen their faces, painted them and written stories about them in the following books: Compašeras, Women, Art, and Social Change in Latin America; Africa Through the Eyes of Women Artists; Women Artists, Multicultural Visions; and Africa, Women's Art, Women's Lives "

Tree of Life - Peru
Peru Pachamama 

"Art can create bridges between people and continents by sharpening our sensitivity to life's diversity. The earth is our shared home. I believe what I do in Ashland, Oregon can make a difference in Africa, and even a very small difference is important."

Chickens- Poland

Dreaming Cows- Uganda

 “Dreaming Cows”  is the traveling art exhibit Betty did to promote the work of Heifer International.

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