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

Exhibit Dates:

August 26 to October 9, 2020, by appointment for private viewing

Zoom reception with the artist: Thursday, September 17th 7-8pm

Family Pods, 2020, Digital Print 


HANCOCK, MI €“ 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 August 26 to October 2, 2020. Appointments for a private viewing of the exhibit can be made with Gallery Director Carrie Flaspohler at (906) 487-7500 or by email at

An opening Zoom reception with the artist will take place on Zoom on Thursday, September 10th, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

The artist Rita C. Obelleiro

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.  €œWhen 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.

€œNow 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.

Who am I Without Her, Who is She Without Us? Digital Print

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.

Memories of Touch, 2019, Watercolor on Paper

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 6 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.

For George Floyd, 2020, Oil on Panel

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).

Chicago Policeman and Protester, 2020, Oil on Panel

Who Am I Without Her, Who is She Without Us? will be on display at the Finlandia University Gallery through October 2, 2020. Gallery viewing is by appointment. Please call 906-487-7500 or email to arrange a private viewing.

The Finlandia University Gallery is located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock.

Photo Cutlines:

Photo 1:  Family Pods, 2020, Digital Print

Photo 2:   The artist Rita C. Obelleiro

Photo 3:  Memories of Touch, 2019, Watercolor on Paper

Photo 4: Who am I Without Her, Who is She Without Us?, 2020, Digital Print

Photo 5:  George Floyd and his Mother, 2020, Oil on Panel

Photo 6: Chicago Policeman and Protester, 2020, Oil on Panel