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March 4, 2009 > Cross Cultural art exhibit

Cross Cultural art exhibit

By Mona Shah

Traveling can often be a journey of discovery, learning about people and cultures in a foreign land - and many times of one's self. Once in a while an opportunity arises in which one can make this discovery close to passport needed. One such exhibit is planned by the Fremont Cultural Arts Council (FCAC), a local non-profit organization supporting arts in the local community. The cross-cultural arts exhibit will showcase traditional techniques and artistic talent of our multi-cultural community.

This unique exhibit features a single subject as interpreted by artists from various cultural backgrounds and ethic groups. The subject is the Fremontia or fremontodendrum californicum, a native shrub whose blossom is the emblem flower of the City of Fremont. Commonly referred to as the "flannel bush" because of its fuzzy leaves, the plant was given its botanical name by John C. Fremont. The five petals of the flower represent the five original districts that united to form the City of Fremont in 1956.

This flower has a rich local history, and depictions of the flower using a variety of techniques, with descriptions of the traditions behind them, will be displayed at the exhibit. Included in the show will be examples of classical Chinese brush paintings, Hindu Tanjore paintings, Islamic calligraphy and representational art from the Western European tradition, textile art and photography.

Lisa Stambaugh will display a quilted wall hanging. "This modern quilted piece shows the Fremontia flower in four panels, similar to an Andy Warhol print, and features beading in the center of each flower. The inspiration came from a photo of a single flower, and I imagined looking through a paned window and seeing many flowers on the other side. By hanging this quilt on any interior wall, I can visualize the garden that might be waiting just behind it!" explains Stambaugh.

Another featured artist, Ichen Wu, is talented and well-regarded using a traditional Chinese brush. In Chinese traditional art it is important to plan carefully and also be spontaneous. This seeming contradiction is partly because of the medium of ink and paper. Once a brush stroke is done, no change is possible, while at the same time, each brush stroke should be strong and clear - hesitation or weakness shows clearly. In addition to mastering thoughtful planning and decisive action, the Chinese traditional artist attempts to look beyond a surface representation to the spirit or spiritual truth of the item being depicted.

Nabeela RazaSquare represents the Kufic style of Arabic Calligraphy. Her representation has been painted using Acrylic paints on canvas of 3'x3'. The background uses soft avocado green to depict the heart shaped leaves of the foliage. Calligraphy is done by painting several layers of metallic gold, to achieve the required depth and richness of Fremontia Flower.

FCAC has also requested a proposal from Linda Patterson, a very well-regarded concrete artist for a bench with the Fremontia flower in relief on the back-rest. Although it hasn't been commissioned as yet, a mock-up will be displayed at the show.

The show is presented by FCAC and co-sponsored by Dutra Enterprises, Inc., at Plaza Los Olivos, a great backdrop to display this intriguing art. For more information, please call Margaret Talt (510) 490-5510.

Cross Cultural art exhibit

Friday, March 6
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

March 7-21
Wednesdays to Sundays
Noon to 5 p.m.

Plaza Los Olivos
43480 Mission Blvd., Fremont
(510) 490-5510

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