Unique/Universal: 12 Displays of Customs (Etchings, Dry Point)

12 Displays of Customs
Upcoming: Check dates; some may be changed because of artist's move.
  • TAG Gallery, High Pointe, NC
  • Wilkes Art Gallery, Wilkseboro, NC
  • Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte, NC
Past exhibits featuring all or part of this collections. 

  • June 2022: Artworks Gallery, Winston Salem, NC 
  • SECCA Southeast Center for Contemporary Art, Sept.17-Oct.18,  2021/Dance
This Series of Etchings showcases our world’s rich trove of folk arts, customs and traditions; broadens our awareness by introducing (or reintroducing) them to a new audience, preserves them by recording images in art, and celebrates them by sharing visually the sheer joy and awe of the human artistic spirit.

These images are simultaneously unique and universal.
Unique: All cultures—indigenous, ethnic, or culturally adapted— bring with them, their own characteristics and history, often incorporating rituals and symbols important to their individual identities and distinctive traditions. We need to see this as art and to celebrate and preserve it. 

Universal: Almost every culture has a need for artistic expression in their everyday lives. Through the reminder of these images, we learn that across the globe, people sing, produce music and dance; that everywhere, people embellish and decorate surroundings—their personal world—our world—with visual art. We need to see this, also, as the art it is and to appreciate and preserve it.


The Series consists of 78 intaglio images (dry point and copper sulphate/salt etchings). The images may be matted and framed for gallery or home wall display, and all are included in a series of 12 separate hand-made, accordion artist books, which correspond to my modified version of a familiar, traditional folk song, which served as my matrix (see above).  Each book page is 9x12.

Inspiration (and Pandemic influence):

During this period, I, like many of us, have been reminded of how important interpersonal connections are, and how globally we are connected. I have also considered this confined time, as my personal artist in residence period, working in my home studio with a small press to create this body of work, which explores an international perspective. I expanded the series of nine original prints created just before Covid-19 into a 78-print (12+11+10+9 etc.) collection. In addition to creating the actual art works, this endeavor required hours of research into folk customs, authentic clothing, and culture heritage, two things I happen to love: research and world cultures. (I earned the Crite Prize for Humanities Research from Harvard University, and for years, I have written about artists, and art,  including a syndicated column on world arts and culture, ArtSmart Travels, published world-wide, based on my travels to more than 25 countries on five continents. I also taught college level Humanities, Asian Art, Art History and Studio Art for 20 years. Please see my resume, for more, relevant bio information.)

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The Art and Writing of Barbara Rizza Mellin