Umbrella artist Lois Andersen’s paintings of her ancestral home in southern Norway tell a story about discovering the places left behind when her forbears immigrated to New York in early 20th century.
Her exhibit, “Finding Home,” is on display at the Trinity Church gallery, 81 Elm St., through March 4.
Andersen explores her own family story, and hopes to encourage others to do the same. Depicted are the beautiful but unforgiving rocky landscape and the homes and churches centuries old. Family imagery from old photos help complete the narrative.
With more than 110 million displaced people in the world today, stories of leaving one’s home and culture are universal, Andersen said.
“What is your family story? We share at least 99% of our DNA, but we long to know our particular family history,” she writes in her artist statement. “In recent years I have concentrated on the story of my father’s birthplace in southern Norway. The theme, ‘Finding Home’ is one I hope will resonate with many, and remind us of the countless numbers around the globe today who are forced for one reason or another to leave their ancestral home for a foreign land.
“As a child I frequently heard my grandparents refer to Norway as ‘home,’” she added. “They told stories and had photos of our extended families; events of loss and of celebration; accounts of walking miles to a one room school house, shoveling door-high snow out to the barn, rowing the sheep to the island for summer pasture.
“Such nostalgia occupied my imagination before my first visit to my father’s birthplace in southern Norway. Before my first visit, I thought I knew my ‘story,’ but at my first encounter were family who took me in because of whose grandchild I was. In this hamlet by the sea. I was given a HOME. I gained a connection to my particular little place in the human story.”
Trinity gallery hours are Monday – Thursday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. -12 p.m.