Mennonite Women Evolving at gallery

Women are the theme for the exhibition featured this month at the Pembina Hills Art Gallery and Gift Shop.

But these are special women to local artists Bev Friesen and Gail Sawatzky, who joined forces for the November show which returns to the theme of a popular past exhibit.

They have captured the women of their heritage and images of a bygone era through their show Mennonite Women Evolving.

The exhibition is a chronological guide of original paintings of Mennonite women from the early 1900s in images that show their evolution.

"It's an extraordinary display that captures the hearts of these women portrayed in these original works," stated administrative director Monica Friesen.

Gail Sawatzky explained their purpose behind the show came from a shared personal interest.

"We are both interested in the past lives of Mennonite women and the journey that brings us to today," she said.

"The hardships, the rules, the traditions, the beauty are what we are striving to portray, in both of our interpretations of Mennonite Women Evolving."

Monica Friesen noted that their first Mennonite Women Evolving show in November 2009 was a huge success.

"People from all walks of life viewed the exhibition like they were seeing old friends, relatives and of course their mothers and other women from their lives," she said. "This is everyone's story. "

Sawatzky and Bev Friesen were at the opening reception Friday, November 4 that featured a traditional "faspa" along with a few forbidden Mennonite beverages!

Looking ahead, the December/January exhibition will be the annual holiday season members' show which this year will revolve around the theme of "These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things."

The gallery members will creatively bring this perennial musical favourite's images to life through a variety of media and styles.

The gallery is in downtown Morden at 352 Stephen Street. For more information, call 822-6026, e-mail pembhill@mts.net or go online to www.pembinahillsarts.com.

The gallery and gift shop is open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m.