Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Claudia Whitman (on right) speaks with an art patron about her work during the current show at the Gem Gallery which is on exhibit July 29 - August 11.

Norm Proulx and Claudia Whitman share the walls of the back gallery in the Gem for two weeks, as they have for the last couple of summers. Their work complements each other; although disparate in both approach and motive, these pieces speak about work.

"Forsaken Workplaces, Forsaken Workers" is a dual exhibit that touches on one theme in very different ways.

Claudia's pieces make use of her collage and assemblage.

Claudia makes this statement about her series:

This show is a response to the NYTimes Magazine articles I read last summer about women being the only hope for the world. There were descriptions of poor communities around the world where women got small micro loans that led to small businesses but huge changes in the family and economic dynamics. Husbands often stopped beating their wives. I decided I needed to focus on women, particularly in the so-called third world. Hanging in my window was a mobile from NAWOU, the National Association of Women’s Organizations in Uganda, with spectacular figures in different poses. I thought I might make something like these figures, but then it occurred to me that I could use theirs and in such a manner, contribute to awareness of their endeavors and to their financial efforts. I e-mailed them and asked if I could use the figures in my art pieces if I gave them credit and also offered to give them a percentage of any sales. They answered enthusiastically in favor of the project. Thus, I will be donating 10% of sales to NAWOU, will send pictures of the individual pieces, and will offer to bring the show to Uganda at some time in the future.

My art has always been a collaboration: items I find and things I make; incorporation of old works into new ideas; use of prints made by school kids with work of my own. This show stretches the concept further for me.


NAWOU, The National Association of Women's Organizations in Uganda, is a non-governmental organization representing women's groups in Uganda. The goal of NAWOU is to improve the status and living conditions of women in Uganda and to make women self-reliant. In addition to running income generation projects, NAWOU is also involved in micro credit, information and research, advocacy, and lobbying for women’s rights.

NAWOU’s handcraft project supports 70 women’s handcraft groups, representing over 1,000 women. With the income earned from making handcrafts, the women provide needed resources to their families. Having a sustainable source of income has not only improved their self esteem and confidence, but has also enabled women to cope with social economic issues and has given the women a stronger voice in their families and communities. Earning their own income has meant that women are able to make decisions and be less dependent on men for accessing their basic needs like food, shelter, health and education for their children.

Through an agreement with NAWOU to use the figures in my art pieces, I will be donating 10% of all sales to NAWOU.

BASKETS are made by Dhaka Handcrafts, an independent organization designed to assist impoverished rural artisans in Bangladesh to attain self-sufficiency, and at the same time to encourage and market traditional craftsmanship.

Norm Proulx has created a series of pastels and acrylic paintings of mills in Maine.

Weather is grand for traveling via ferry to the Gem Gallery on sunny Peaks Island! Call 207-766-5600 for gallery hours.

You can also see the work of Peaks Island artist Jeanne O'Toole Hayman at the newly relocated Addison Woolley Gallery from August 5 - 28. Gallery hours at 132 Washington Avenue in Portland are
Wed. - Sat. 11:30 - 5.

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