A detail from Robert Shetterly's portrait of Winona LaDuke, part of his Americans Who Tell the Truth series. "The essence of the problem is about consumption, recognizing that a society that consumes one-third of the world's resources is unsustainable," a quote from LaDuke painted onto the piece reads. "This level of consumption requires intervention into other people's lands. That's what's going on." PHOTO COURTESY OF COA

Shetterly on truth-telling

BAR HARBOR — Painter and social activist Robert Shetterly will discuss his Americans Who Tell the Truth (AWTT) portrait series in conversation with Bonnie Tai, director of the educational studies program at College of the Atlantic, Tuesday, July 9 at 9 a.m. in Deering Common Community Center at COA.

The event is the first of COA’s 2019 Coffee and Conversation discussion series.

Shetterly’s AWTT portraits use words and images to highlight citizens who courageously address issues of social, environmental and economic fairness.

He began the series in 2002 as his personal portrait project. It has morphed into a broad-based, not-for-profit arts and education organization, the mission of which is “to foster and inspire ‘a profound sense of citizenship’ by exposing students at all levels to portraits, quotes, biographies and related resources built around these ‘Models of Courageous Citizenship,’” according to the AWTT website.

Paintings from Shetterly’s AWTT series comprise the feature exhibit this summer in COA’s Ethel H. Blum Gallery. The exhibit is on display July 2-Aug. 31, with a closing reception on Aug. 22. Summer gallery hours are Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Shetterly graduated from Harvard College with a degree in English literature and after moving to Maine in 1970 taught himself drawing, printmaking, and painting. He has engaged in a wide variety of political and humanitarian work with many of the people whose portraits he has painted. Much of his current work focuses on honoring and working with the activists trying to bring an end to the practice of mountaintop removal in Appalachia, on climate change, and on the continuation of systemic racism in the U.S.

Visit coa.edu/summerevents.

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