Office of Public Affairs

(315) 312-2265

Sept. 2, 2003

CONTACT: Mindy Ostrow, 312-2112


    OSWEGO -- Decades of personal documentation of life in West Africa can be seen through Vera Viditz-Ward's exhibition "Village and City: Photographs of Sierra Leone, West Africa" from Sept. 10 to Oct. 4 in Tyler Art Gallery at SUNY Oswego.

    Viditz-Ward's life as a photographer began in Sierra Leone 25 years ago with free-lance assignments from various state ministries and international agencies.

    The public is invited to hear the artist speak about her work at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, in the gallery. A reception will follow. The artist's talk is an opening event for the Asian, Latino, African-American and Native American Student Leadership Conference at SUNY Oswego.

    Viditz-Ward has a master of fine arts degree in photography from Indiana University and a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Hartford. Currently a professor of art at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, she has participated in many invitational and juried exhibitions in the United States and West Africa.

    Awarded a Fulbright-Hayes Research Scholarship, Viditz-Ward lived in Freetown, Sierra Leone, from 1985 to 1987. In 1996, she received a U.S. Department of Education grant to work on a photographic project in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa.

    The photographs in the Tyler Art Gallery exhibition are part of a larger portfolio of images that were produced by the artist since 1977 during prolonged stays in Sierra Leone. They focus on daily rural life in villages of the Northern and Southern provinces as well as in the urban settings of Freetown.

    "My photographs," Viditz-Ward said, "illustrate the blend of indigenous and colonial cultures as Sierra Leoneans struggle with the complexity of their post-colonial existence and attempt to define and develop their relationship to the rest of Africa, Europe and America."

    The exhibition and lecture are sponsored by Tyler Art Gallery with funds provided by SUNY Oswego's Artswego and Student Association art exhibition committee.

    "Fast Food Illustrated," an Oswego Reading Initiative event, will run in Tyler Art Gallery
concurrently with Viditz-Ward's exhibition. "Fast Food Illustrated" features students' visual interpretations of Eric Schlosser's "Fast Food Nation," the book selected under the initiative for campus-wide reading.

    Gallery hours are 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays. For additional information or for visitors with disabilities who need assistance, call the gallery at 315-312-2113.

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An image of cooking in Sierra Leone taken by Vera Viditz-Ward

SIERRA LEONE SCENE -- Vera Viditz-Ward took this photograph, titled "Processing Palm Kernels into Palm Oil," during her stay in Rogbere Village in Sierra Leone in West Africa. The artist's rural and urban photographs of contemporary Sierra Leone, presenting a visual document of a people living through an on-going war and surviving continuing political and economic crisis, will appear from Sept. 10 to Oct. 4 in Tyler Art Gallery at SUNY Oswego. The public can meet the artist at a talk and reception from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the gallery. For more information, call 312-2113. (Credit line: Photograph copyrighted by Vera Viditz-Ward. All rights reserved.)

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