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Finlandia University Gallery opens new exhibit for private viewing appointments

Rita C. Obelleiro: Who Am I Without Her, Who is She Without Us?

HANCOCK – Finlandia University Gallery will present the exhibition Who Am I Without Her, Who is She Without Us? by Chicago artist Rita C. Obelleiro at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC), Hancock from Sept.2 to Oct. 9. Appointments for a private viewing of the exhibit can be made with Gallery Director Carrie Flaspohler at (906) 487-7500 or by email at gallery@finlandia.edu.

A reception with the artist will take place on Zoom on Sept. 17, from 7 to 8 p.m.

Finlandia University Gallery opens the new academic year with the work of artist Rita Obelleiro. Her timely work reflects upon our current societal upheavals through the profoundly personal lens of a new mother. “When my daughter was born I tracked her growth using drawings and paintings to mark the new warped experience of time. I saw only a few people, leaving my home just once a day for a walk. The recently mandated quarantines have forced this same period of social isolation. In quarantine and during the postpartum period, we are asked to stay inside to keep our families safe. With each day bleeding into the next, this has also become a moment to reflect on our new identities and values,” says Obelleiro.

“Now with a toddler at home, the outside world feels like a shifting backdrop to my baby’s developmental leaps. When the first COVID-19 cases were reported she began to climb, at the start of the state-wide lockdown she began to point, and when the Black Lives Matter protests began she stood unaided for the first time. Her development as a person and as part of a new generation is entangled with America’s cultural shifts.

Obelleiro’s work, made during the recent lockdown in the late night hours after putting her child to sleep, makes visual the profound and transformative nature of change where the personal meets the seismic social and cultural challenges of our time.

Her work reflects the intimate bond of mother and child, and portrays that encompassing relationship in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matters movement. Her piece, Family Pods, reflects on how we seek companionship and connection all while maintaining six feet of separation. Memories of Touch makes us long for the days of hugging friends with affection and love, and George Floyd and his Mother memorializes Floyd’s final words as he called to his deceased Mother.

Rita Crocker Obelleiro received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania, and her MAT from School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has exhibited in Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Dinan (France), London (UK), Medellin (Colombia), Mendoza (Argentina), New York City, Philadelphia, and Seoul (South Korea).

Who Am I Without Her, Who is She Without Us? will be on display at the Finlandia University Gallery through Oct. 9.

The Finlandia University Gallery is located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery viewing is by appointment. Please call 906-487-7500 or email gallery@finlandia.edu to arrange a private viewing.

Learn more about this exhibit, other exhibits and the Finlandia University Gallery in general by visiting finlandia.edu/universitygallery.

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