Friday, September 18, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: Five Women’s Stories Told Through the Art of Burlington Artist Valerie Hird

BURLINGTON, VT — Renowned Burlington artist Valerie Hird unveils her latest work, The Maiden Voyages Project: The Diaries of Five Women, in an artist’s reception on Friday, October 2 from 5:30 to 8 pm in the Amy E. Tarrant Gallery at the Flynn Center. The collection, which is an exhibition of visual blogs, remains on display from Friday, October 2 through Saturday, January 2.

The Maiden Voyages Project is the translation from text to images of the diaries of five women: four from the Middle East—Iran, Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian West Bank—and the artist herself, an American from Vermont. On the same day, once a month for one full year, each woman kept a detailed journal of her day.

The diaries, all illustrated by Valerie Hird, are intended to make the lives of real women of varying cultures and backgrounds more accessible. To Americans inured to the incessant media reportage of war, Maiden Voyages reduces the overwhelming issues of religion, cultural difference, and politics to a more human and intimate scale. The project moves beyond conflict- based vocabulary and allows individuals to interact on a personal level. Many of the illustrations are dedicated to the mendacity of work, home, and family—the most accessible aspects of daily life, yet the least understood in our exposure to other cultures. Although the site is bi-lingual (Arabic/English), the illustrations have very little text, thus minimizing the issues surrounding translation.

The Amy E. Tarrant Gallery—an extension of the Flynn Lobby— is open to the public on Saturdays from 11 am to 4 pm. Performance attendees may also view exhibits prior to MainStage shows and during intermission. To receive information about upcoming gallery exhibits and artist receptions, update your “My Account” page at

above: August

by Valarie Hird

60 x 40”

mixed media drawing

photo: Courtesy of the artist