The place where artists and writers with Maine connections are showcased.

Maine’s mystical ships by Ramona du Houx – May 2016 exhibit Featured

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Seascapes

“Our bodies consist of the same proportion of water as the earth. We are creatures of the sea. The draw of the ocean has been written about time and again. There is something more vast and more mysterious about the sea than anything else on earth. It’s something similar to the vastness and mystery of the universe itself. Our planet is just one in our solar system which is connected by the vastness of space. Is the relationship we have with the ocean a microscopic reflection of the relationship our Earth has to space?” said Ramona du Houx.

“How people interact with the ocean, from feeling at one under sail with the winds at the back to simply watching waves lap the shores, transmits a calmness, a wholeness. That peace is something I wish to convey in my work.”

Ramona du Houx’s photography Featured

Ramona has been to many events in her 32 year career as a photographer and has had the privilege of capturing the excitement and atmosphere surrounding the events.

“Ramona du Houx provides fine, thorough, and complete photography and writing services and doesn’t stop until she gets the job done to the satisfaction of the client she is working for.”
– Bangor Citycouncilor Joe Baldacci

Here is a small sample of her work. For more please click here. Or contact her directly.Rates vary per assignment and needs. Read more

Multi-talented dancers explores waking up in Bowdoin’s spring concert

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Article and photos By Ramona du Houx – first published in Maine Insights

The 2017 Bowdoin College spring dance concert took place on the evenings of May 4, 5, 6 and delighted audiences with inspired contemporary dance showcasing the student’s talents.

An over all theme of the dance performance explored what it means to wake up-from a dream, from sleeping while being awake, from becoming and adult or from seeing spring shake off the blanket of winter.

It’s hard to imagine the performers were not profession. Indeed one was—Bowdoin alumna Rakiya Orange ’11 was flown in to perform a 10-minute solo piece, “Nina.” Rakiya has danced solos in N.Y.C. During the spring concert she danced while a video of different movies played on a screen behind her. She used portions of the video to dance with and express her transformation into adulthood as well as aspects of love and relationships. Orange choreographed the piece (photos top of the page).

There were five different dance performances, all choreographed with great care and artistic flare. Many of the dances focused upon self-discovery utilizing a broad range of contemporary styles, and techniques.

Ben Eisenberg ’17, danced a short piece by the band Mum. His choreography captured his remarkable skills as he apparently eased his way gracefully through complicated moves, becoming one with the music.

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Gina Fickera ’18, took center stage as well with Joy Huang ’19 and Melissa Miura ’19 when they performed a piece that they also choreographed themselves. The avant-garde technique highlighted each of the dancer’s unification within the trio, as well as their individual styles.

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The department of theater and dance’s Modern I class performance centered on themes of sleep through dream sequences with a little politics interwoven in the piece. While students slumbered they slowly awoke to the daunting reality of a Trump presidency. Senior Lecturer in Dance Performance Gwyneth Jones successfully brought out the best in her students as they gave an energetic display of poetry in motion.

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The Modern III dance piece was improvisational and reminiscent of a river waking up in spring. Assistant Professor of Dance Aretha Aoki choreographed the fluid designed enchantment. During the process she allowed her students active roles in its creation.

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The Poems of Maria Caridad Lara Sciaky, dive deep into every woman’s soul

The work of a spirit unafraid of powerful and enduring literary fashions and taboos, these poems exhibit a refreshing sensitivity to the superficial as well as the profound trends in the history of the craft. They arise.

614pjzbiqql“The schematic structure of Maria’s poetry is very similar and best described by comparing it to a musical configuration called a fugue,” wrote Albert Sciaky, Maria’s loving husband of fifty years.

With sensitivity and chilling insights, many of poems highlight the quest of women to be free.

“Maria takes us on journeys in time — to reflect on the present. She bares her soul in verses that are compelling, and real. The poems touch a secret part of every woman’s soul. Maria connects with us through hidden worries, concerns and loves that we all might have. She lets me know I’m not alone in my thoughts and struggles to find a place to work in harmony — within a ‘man’s’ world,” said Ramona du Houx, the book’s artist. “It’s an honor to have my photographs included in a book of her amazing insightful poems. I feel indebted to her.”

The need to trust in man, but never knowing if betrayal awaits down the road is ever present in Maria’s work. In other poems she lets us get to know a man who exhibits unconditional love and whose love is equally reciprocated.

Women and men will find Maria’s poems enlightening.

“While reading Maria’s poetry, it is important to be informed that she believed she was divulging her personal and private inner self through her poems,” wrote Albert.

The torment that is evident in Maria’s soul in some of the poems is a pain many women will understand. They will forever be grateful Maria shared her inner thoughts, which gives us solace knowing we’re not alone.

They embrace tradition through rhymes evocative of song, along with the blank verse modes currently popular. To sing in verse of the universal themes in detail and in succinct lines is one of the greatest creative challenges. To offer combinations of form melded into a seamless style is a much-needed gift and guide for the postmodern culture we might think we have surpassed.

The themes in Maria’s poetry, rooted in nature’s diverse landscapes, are accompanied by the photographic art of Ramona du Houx.  All images are in color.

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The editor’s preface provides personal insight into the vistas opened up in each poem.

Paperback

Publisher: Polar Bear & Company

ISBN- 978-1882190-48-5

$16.95 each

Global Warming Conflicts and Solutions -Documentary to Make Change


The Solon Center for Research and Publishing has agreed to publish books based upon this documentary project which highlights conflicts around the globe that are a direct result of climate change and how community solutions, already available, could help defuse these problems. These videos, and a full-length film will be the basis of the books we will publish.

If you’d like to donate for the creation of the videos please do so through the Solon Center HERE. Small donations ($10) to large contributions (any amount) make a huge difference! None of the film is stock footage.

More from the project’s director, Alexander Cornell du Houx’s:

Background—

My deployment to Fallujah, Iraq, with the Marine Corps infantry, gave me a firsthand insight into why it’s critical to find solutions to the water insecurity connected to climate change.

While on patrol just outside the city, a roadside bomb hit my HUMVEE. Fortunately for us, most of the blast missed our vehicle. When we caught our assailant we learned that he was a farmer with little or no explosives experience. Because of climate change, his crops had failed. Vulnerable, in need of funds for survival, he was turned into a terrorist paid to attack Americans. For me, the connection between climate change and water insecurity became crystal clear.

Soon thereafter, I started to put the pieces together on how climate change and water insecurity are inseparable.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-10-14-12-am

Mission—

Our mission is to film short videos and a documentary on the impact of climate change on water security, and how clean energy and sustainable agriculture, as it relates to climate change can help combat the situation, educate community leaders, lawmakers and the public.

We aim to inspire community action, the media and lawmakers to combat climate change and promote water security.

These short videos, paired with trainings and policy initiatives, will foster climate solutions across the U.S. and world.

Water is our major focus. Most people are unaware that 40 out of 50 U.S. states expect water shortages in 10 years, according to the Government Accountability Office. At the same time foreign corporations are currently buying up U.S. water rights. Internationally, the United Nations has identified 37 conflicts in the last 50 years caused by trans-boundary water rights. Additionally, U.S. intelligence agencies recently reported that water is a major source of instability and potential conflict. According to Picture Motion, a film advocacy organization, the last project to highlight this issue was in a documentary 10 years ago for about 20 minutes. Read more

Hélène Farrar’s eclitic work on exhibit at UMF Community Arts Center

A vibrant solo exhibit by visual artist Hélène Farrar launches the UMF Emery Community Arts Center’s spring schedule. The show, “What We Carry,” runs from Jan. 17 to March 19, and features an opening reception from 5-7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 20. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

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“Balance” by Hélène Farrar

Farrar’s exhibit, “What We Carry” shows that we are more complicated than we think we are. We are even more complicated than even the stories we tell. We can’t see that someone next to us might be carrying with them an entire room or an elephant-sized amount of trauma, an isolating living situation or viewpoint, anger, a deep (dis)connection to others, and a personal or familial history of significance.

But revealing or attempting to engage with others about the depth of our human nature collectively and individually can place us into vulnerability. Through layers of mark, textures, patterns, humor and “stuff” these works hope to begin a conversation about our duality while also exploring larger themes including migration, human relationships, differences in perspective, political and social climate and personal search.

This exhibit consists of twenty plus paintings in encaustic (molten beeswax paint) and sculptures of various scale, including a 3 by 6 foot carved wooden elephant. Heat is used throughout the encaustic process, from melting the beeswax and varnish to fusing the layers of wax. The medium can be used alone for its transparency or adhesive qualities or used pigmented.

screen-shot-2017-01-12-at-9-59-48-amFarmington native Farrar teaches and makes her work just down the road in Manchester. Both her mother, also an artist, and her stepfather, taught at UMF. She has fond first memories as a child of Farmington and UMF’s Alumni Theater and art studios.

“Having my first Farmington exhibit at UMF’s Emery Community Arts Center is incredibly emotional for me,” said Farrar. “It feels very much like coming home.”

An artist and art educator, she has taught and worked in the visual arts for twenty years while actively teaching and exhibiting in commercial, nonprofit and universities in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Italy and England. Farrar was most recently featured in a summer exhibition “Vision + Verse” curated by Anne Zills at the University of New England.

Her paintings have been accepted into curated exhibits at the Creative Arts Workshop of New Haven, the Saco Museum, the University of New England and Twiggs Gallery in New Hampshire. Farrar is represented by the Stable Gallery in Damariscotta, Archipelago Fine Arts in Rockland, the Eastport Breakwater Gallery and the Center for Maine Craft in West Gardiner.

Farrar has a BA in Studio Art from the University of Maine and a Masters of Fine Art Degree in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College in Vermont.

She currently owns and operates her own private art school in Maine out of her “Farmhouse” studio, where she holds varied workshops and classes. Hélène is a great lover of people, dogs, culture, music, podcasts, and birds. She can be often found enjoying the Maine outdoors skiing, biking, or walking her dog. She lives and works in Manchester with her ten-year-old daughter Olympia, engineer husband Stan and dog Buddy.

This exhibit is sponsored by the UMF Emery Community Arts Center.

A Winter’s Apprentice is the first account of a craftsman working in a Maine boat yard

By Ramona du HouxJohn Willey shares insights into life in a Maine boatyard, where he worked and kept a journal from 1978 to ’79 in his book, A Winter’s Apprentice. John’s perspectives are unique coming from being a scholar and private investigator. He knew he was working amoung a group of outstanding craftsmen and involved in a dying art that he has now preserved in his writings.

“Before it ever leaves its building shed, a yacht will take its makers on unimagined journeys. This one only begins in East Boothbay, Maine,” said Willey.

As the historian John Gardner confirms, until relatively recently boatbuilding was not recorded—the life of the yard crew even less so. Here is a rare and vibrant narrative from a winter apprentice.

“It’s great, it really is great. I can see it, and see it all—smell it, taste it, and feel it. The shop and crew and Paul came through life size. I was there with you, every blessed, excruciating, wonderful minute…“Last night after supper, I sat down with it and didn’t get up until I had finished, about 2 a.m,” endorsed John Gardner, historian, designer and builder of wooden boats, author of books including Building Classic Small Craft.

John Willey enthusiastically recommends others to become apprentices of the trade.“The practice has worked well for more centuries than we can count. In every one of the great scholarly traditions, including but not limited to law and medicine and teaching, the best of us get that way by first attaching ourselves to the principles of what we want to know, and to the men and women who use and exemplify those principles to grow beyond them.”

Read more

Neil Rolde’s comprehensive history of the War Refugee Board

tearBy Ramona du Houx

Of the nine million Jews who had resided in Europe before the Holocaust, approximately two-thirds were killed. Many of the same elements that led to the Holocaust survive today. Maine author, Neil Rolde, has dedicated himself to broadening our awareness of this era. His histories highlight the degree to which the U.S. helped save Jews during the war and what that required.

The War Refugee Board saved over 200,000 lives, but there hasn’t been a comprehensive written history about the extraordinary work that the Board did—until now.

Neil’s More Than a Teardrop in the Ocean, The Tempestuous Story of the War Refugee Board is the definitive history of this heroic organization.

“The War Refugee Board’s feat of saving some 200,000 targeted innocents is surely worthy of respect. I’m proud to have told the saga of the War Refugee Board in its detailed entirety, in these two volumes,” said author Neil Rolde.

screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-12-07-40-pmA new documentary by Ken Burns, The Sharps’ War, is the story of how a Unitarian minister and his wife risked their lives to save an estimated 125 Jews, during the height of WWII. Burns said that their story needed to be told.

While researching, Rolde found a treasure trove of stories where people accomplished extraordinary things to save Jewish refugees but their actions were rarely attributed to the work of the War Refugee Board.

For example, Raoul Wallenberg, a heroic Swede who saved at least 20,000 Hungarian Jews is known. “But not many people know that the War Refugee Board had sent Wallenberg secretly to Hungary,” said Neil. “Most of the workers weren’t Jewish. They were a small group of about thirty people doing extraordinary things.”

Tragically, during WWII the U.S. didn’t help refugees as much as the should have because of the U.S. State Department official in charge of matters concerning all European refugees during the Holocaust, Breckinridge Long.(click to view Neil’s book on Long)

screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-11-43-45-am“When I researched Long I came across the War Refugee Board and soon saw the need to write about their work. That lead to my latest about what happened to the Jews after the allies ‘liberated’ Europe. It concentrates on the Bricha, which is Hebrew for escape.”

Rolde’s books are always extensively researched. Neil has won awards for his books from the Maine Historical Society, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, and the Maine Humanities Council.

Climate Change Causes Conflicts-Documentary Project to Bring Change

A short clip to help raise funds for the initiative from its director, Alexander Cornell du Houx:

The Solon Center for Research and Publishing has agreed to publish books based upon this documentary project which highlights conflicts around the globe that are a direct result of climate change and how community solutions, already available, could help defuse these problems. These videos, and a full-length film will be the basis of the books we will publish.

If you’d like to donate for the creation of the videos please do so through the Solon Center HERE. Small donations ($10) to large contributions (any amount) make a huge difference! None of the film is stock footage.

More from the project’s director, Alexander Cornell du Houx’s:

Background—

My deployment to Fallujah, Iraq, with the Marine Corps infantry, gave me a firsthand insight into why it’s critical to find solutions to the water insecurity connected to climate change.

While on patrol just outside the city, a roadside bomb hit my HUMVEE. Fortunately for us, most of the blast missed our vehicle. When we caught our assailant we learned that he was a farmer with little or no explosives experience. Because of climate change, his crops had failed. Vulnerable, in need of funds for survival, he was turned into a terrorist paid to attack Americans. For me, the connection between climate change and water insecurity became crystal clear.

Soon thereafter, I started to put the pieces together on how climate change and water insecurity are inseparable.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-10-14-12-am

Mission—

Our mission is to film short videos and a documentary on the impact of climate change on water security, and how clean energy and sustainable agriculture, as it relates to climate change can help combat the situation, educate community leaders, lawmakers and the public.

We aim to inspire community action, the media and lawmakers to combat climate change and promote water security.

These short videos, paired with trainings and policy initiatives, will foster climate solutions across the U.S. and world.

Water is our major focus. Most people are unaware that 40 out of 50 U.S. states expect water shortages in 10 years, according to the Government Accountability Office. At the same time foreign corporations are currently buying up U.S. water rights. Internationally, the United Nations has identified 37 conflicts in the last 50 years caused by trans-boundary water rights. Additionally, U.S. intelligence agencies recently reported that water is a major source of instability and potential conflict. According to Picture Motion, a film advocacy organization, the last project to highlight this issue was in a documentary 10 years ago for about 20 minutes.

Phase 1—

The first phase of our video project will be to visit 18 states to film the dangers and solutions of climate and water security as highlighted by lawmakers and their communities.

As a former state lawmaker, I have the network to start filming immediately.

Every short video will help raise awareness of local climate issues, and will also be used to help promote the full-length documentary that will be filmed after the completion of the short videos.

We have a guaranteed audience, as each lawmaker will want to showcase themselves and their community. A California state senator, for example, has close to a million constituents.

Organizing through storytelling—

Working with communities by telling their stories is key. During each state visit, we will also conduct value-based communications training, provide a print story with photos, press release, and social media meme to promote the videos and documentary.

Phase 2—

The next stage is to select footage from the videos from each state to be used in our full-length documentary.

To finish the film we’ll travel to areas that need their issues highlighted. As the world heats up with climate change, the increasing lack of fresh water is causing conflicts around the globe. But there is hope — real solutions are already making a difference. Through a character driven style, we will chronicle the dangers and solutions to water security and climate change from the Middle East, to Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Americas.

Adrian Grenier from HBO’s Entourage, Anna Day, an award winning Journalist and DKC News in NYC, who produces Ken Bern’s films, are already committed to the project once the necessary funds are raised.

Maine’s Equal Protection of the Laws: America’s 14th Amendment Exhibit

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Maine’s Equal Protection of the Laws: America’s 14th Amendment exhibit opens on Thursday, September 22nd and runs through December 22nd, 2016.
The exhibit will be at the Michael Klahr Center on the campus of the University of Maine at Augusta, 46 University Drive in Augusta.
Themes depicted relate to many areas of American society covered by the amendment: including due process, liberty, gender and sexuality, race, legal protections, equality in the workplace, housing, education, law enforcement, rights of the incarcerated, tolerance, and local, state, and federal representation
The exhibit is being hosted by the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine, in conjunction with the Harlow Gallery of the Kennebec Valley Art Association, with support from the Maine Humanities Council and associated program support by the Maine Arts Commission.
The Holocaust and Human Rights Center is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or weekends and evenings by appointment or when other events are being held.