Flowers in February

    Photos by Anita M. Harris
    February 1-28, 2010

    Lincoln Public Library
    3 Bedford Road
    Lincoln, MA
    Reception: Saturday, Feb. 13, 3-4:30 PM


    In this exhibit, I hope to share the joy I feel when discovering the amazing shapes, colors, and patterns of nature—and to offer a bright spot, an indoor garden, a few rays of warmth and hope, during these cold, dark, winter days.
     I’m especially pleased to be showing my photos in the Lincoln Library—where I’ve much appreciated the helpfulness and graciousness of the staff.  In return, I plan to donate a portion of profits from photo sales to the library.

    I hope you enjoy the photos, which are available for purchase from Anita Harris Photography (see below) or at the Town Hall Exchange, 25 Lincoln Rd., Lincoln, MA.
     I’d welcome your comments!

     ———Anita  Harris

    Anita M. Harris a photographer, writer, communications consultant and member of the Lincoln Library’s Write Stuff group.  Her photos have been shown at the Arlington and Concord Art Associations, at Harvard University and in the Boston Public Library. They have also published in popular and trade publications and seen on the CBS Discovery Channel.

    Anita Harris Photography 
    Cambridge, MA 02138

    New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA. We also publish Harriscomblog and Ithaca Diaries blog.  


Photo of Les Femmes du Moroque

Les Femmes du Moroque-Reclining Odalisque

Lalla Essaydi’s Les Femmes du Maroc  is a must-see. Today is its last day at the DeCordova Museum, in Lincoln, MA, but it will be soon travelling to the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum in Rutgers, New Jersey.

In her large-format photos of women in chadors, and, sometimes veils,  Moroccan- born Lalla Essaydi presents a beautiful and provocative challenge to  perceptions about Muslim women going back centuries.

The limited palette photographs in henna, black, and gray on white, depict individual or groups of women in chadors and, sometimes, veils, in poses or situations modeled after  paintings by great European masters, reproductions of which accompany most of the photos. Les Femmes du Maroc #4

But instead of  emulating the rich color and sexual innuendo of the paintings, Essaydi changes  gestures, replaces men with women, and covers much of the surface area with arabic writing–illegible even to those who know the language.

As described on the DeCordova Web site, These women inhabit a place that is literally and entirely circumscribed by text, written directly on their bodies, apparel, and their surroundings by the artist herself.

Les Femmes du MarocIn commentary provided through cell-phone dial in (difficult to hear because Lincoln has limited cell service)  Essadi explains that she wants to make clear that the work of male artists of centuries past has done a disservice to Muslim women by objectifying them as sexual objects, often in harems.

She points out that writing was a form reserved for men, and that one of the original  painting is so extraordinarily beautiful that one can easily overlook the subject matter: a naked woman being sold as a slave.

She brings up the difference between private and public space–that painters would never have been allowed into women’s homes, which were considered private space–but thought nothing of bringing women into their studios and showing paintings of them in public spaces–which were ordinarily reserved for men.

Les Femmes du Maroc #4 Essadyi also provides a complex interpretation of  “the veil”. On the one hand,  its use is sometimes considered a way of subjugating women, of keeping them out of public life, of denying them equality,  full citizenship. On the other hand, she says, she herself sometimes appreciates the veil and finds it freeing–because it protects her and her privacy from a potentially dangerous outside world.

Organized by Senior Curator Nick Capasso, Les Femmes du Maroc will travel to the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, January 30, 2010 – June 6, 2010.

——-Anita M. Harris

New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA. We also publish Harriscomblog and Ithaca Diaries blog.

Lowell Open Studios Photo

Lowell Open Studios Photo

I was wonderfully suprised and impressed by Lowell Open Studios–held this weekend in the old milltown about 45 minutes north of Cambridge.  Two huge old mill buildings, five floors each, at 122 Western Avenue,  have been transformed to include  beautiful artist’s studios, a museum, sound studios and a cafeteria, with artists’ living quarters in the works.

My friend Mark and I enjoyed seeing friend Adrien Bisson’s nature and portrait photography (unsolicited plug: they’re fabulous; he’s available to shoot  corporate, family, and educational events).      .

We then drove to the center of town, where  mills and artists are showcased in what has become  Market Mills and the Lowell National Historic Park.    Across the courtyard outside the reception center, we found the Brush Art Gallery and Studios, where  a photograph by friend Paul Weiner was displayed  in an all-cat exhibit.

We enjoyed the show which, eclectic in form if not content, included a patchwork quilt, sculpture, photography, and painting, with proceeds donated to homeless kitties. A  highlight was that these cats did not make me itch.

Anita M. Harris

New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA. We also publish HarrisCom Blog.

 “Lorne Beach: Fantastical Rock Formations on Australia’s South Coast”
Photos by Anita M. Harris with annotation by Australian Geologist Avi Olshina
 June 5-September 7, 2009     sea creature1                                    Salem Arts Walk Friday-Sunday June 5-7
                                   Reception  3-5 Sunday June 24
                                              Treasures Over Time
                                                139 Washington St.
                                                       Salem, MA









June 5-September 7, 2009 





Heads and Tales Review

February 18, 2009

Hatry photo, Menard Gallery Heads and Tales

Hatry photo, Menard Gallery Heads and Tales

If Heide Hatry’s provocative photographic show—Heads and Tales–at the Peirre Menard Gallery, (10 Arrow St. in Cambridge) is meant to shock: it does. In fact, for a few moments,  it made me fear for the mental health of the artist, who has (beautifully–even lovingly)  photographed her sculptures portraying female victims of violent death.

Hatry, who grew up in Germany and moved to New York City in 2003,  sculpted life-sized female mannequins from clay and covered them with untreated pigskin (a cold wet sample of which is available in the gallery with the notice: “please touch”). She added raw meat for the lips and fresh pig eyes—and in some cases, flies, safety pins, and other props—creating, according to the gallery writeup, “the illusion of life where there is none”.

Hatry then photographed the mannequins—some enlarged to 20”x 30”, others more life-size, at 12” x 18”.

Viewed from afar, the photographs appear lifelike, but close up, you realize the subjects are constructs—adding physical and intellectual layers to the artist’s statements on the horrifying situations faced by many women—and on photography’s role in bringing the inanimate to life.

Hatry’s “views” are further emphasized by accompanying tales about the “women’s” lives (and deaths) as imagined by 27 writers—some of them well known feminists.

The show is well-conceived and displayed, which makes its subject matter all the more disturbing.

The exhibit, which opened Feb 13, 2009, will run through March 15. It corresponds with the release of Hatry’s book, Heads and Tales, and with readings, book signings and the premiere of a play.


New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA.

Watching the Obama inauguration ceremonies on TV, I felt disappointed by poet Elizabeth Alexander’s “Praise Song for the Day”…but  agree with Martha Swartz of  Philadelphia, who points out in her email newsletter that that the poem works better read than heard.  It’s included below.

Martha, a lawyer who regularly sends out political commentary,  also offers links to photos of the inauguration:

Inauguration photos by Wilmington, DE photographer Kathe Kahn Morse are posted at .\

If you’d like me to link to your photos, commentary or anything else regarding the inauguration…or actually…anything else at all…please leave a comment to let me know!


Here’s the poem:
by Elizabeth Alexander

Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others’ eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair. Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice. A woman and her son wait for the bus. A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, “Take out your pencils. Begin.” We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; words to consider, reconsider. We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, “I need to see what’s on the other side; I know there’s something better down the road.” We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see. Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of. Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables. Some live by “Love thy neighbor as thy self.” Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need. What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance. In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun. On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp — praise song for walking forward in that light.

New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA.