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Gallery exhibit benefits non-profit project

July 12, 2012

Ed Pullen, president of the Heartland Artists Gallery, models one of the vests on display in July.

PLYMOUTH — The textiles currently being displayed at Heartland Art Gallery were created by textile artist, Dr. Judi-Aubel Osborn of Rome, Italy. Judi spends summers in Culver with her family creating beautiful textile designs. Many of the designs are replicated from observations of nature acquired from her numerous travels around the world. Residing in West Africa for 15 years has greatly influenced her designs by incorporating the artistic traditions of that area of the world. She uses various techniques of dying, printing and embroidery in making these patterns of nature come to life. The various textile composition of handmade silk or woven burlap made by local village artisans contributes to the uniqueness of the finished pieces.
Judi is executive director of the Grandmother Project, an American non-profit organization that is Italy-based and works in Africa to promote the well-being of children and women. Dr. Aubel-Osborn is a global community development and health specialist who utilized her background in anthropology and public health to co-found the Grandmother Project: Strong Grandmothers, Healthy Communities in 2004. She has spent more than 20 years working to improve the health of underprivileged communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In her works in the developing communities in West Africa and Asia, Judi discovered the key role that grandmothers play in promoting family health and well being of women and children. Judi’s husband, Tom Osborn (a native of Culver), is a global agricultural advisor and seed specialist and is based in Rome, Italy with the U.N.
“The goal of the Grandmother Project is to enhance the capacity of senior women to become powerful agents for positive change and to help them improve the health practices of women and children in their communities by being well informed and empowered,” Dr. Aubel states. “Western society tends to focus on youth. The Grandmother Project focuses on the cultural traditions of valuing grandmothers for their wealth of knowledge and their integral role in family life, especially as advisers to younger women on issues of family health and child rearing. We have found that involving grandmothers will strengthen inter generational communication between grandmothers and their daughters, daughter-in-laws and grandchildren”.
The GMP builds grandmother networks through integral training programs and community forums and also focuses on instruction in maternal and child hygiene and nutrition education. The Grandmother Project prominently communicates its’ efforts to abolish the practice of female genital mutilation. This practice has been a generational ritual that is now being evaluated for the negative psychological and physical effects on young generations. Read more about the organization at: www.grandmotherproject.org.
All proceeds from sales of these textile pieces will go to the Grandmother Project to support programs with communities in Africa.
The exhibit will be open through July 28. An open house will take place July 14 in conjunction with the Second Friday downtown events from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will be an artists reception Saturday, July 28 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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