Art Reception: Robert Shetterly

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November through December 2023, York Public library will display 12 portraits by artist Robert Shetterly.  The exhibit is entitled, Americans Who Tell the Truth.  

Rob Shetterly has painted 265 portraits of activists fighting for environmental justice, civil rights, indigenous issues, women’s rights, and much more.  The portraits selected for display are; 

  • Denise Altavater, co-founder of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • Tarana Burke, founder of the “Me Too” Movement 
  • Cesar Estrada Chavez, Farm Workers’ Union Founder 
  • Deqa Dhalac, First African-American and first Muslim to be elected to the South Portland City Council 
  • Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, food and Health, Education and Environmental Justice Doctor
  • Amara Ifeji, environmental and racial justice activist 
  • John Lewis, Civil Rights Activist and Congressman 
  • Leah Penniman, Food justice activist  
  • Rachel Talbot Ross, Civil rights Advocate and Maine legislator.  
  • Sojouner Truth, Abolitionist  
  • Alice Walker, Poet and social justice activist
  • Elizabeth Mumbet Freeman, slave abolitionist, freewoman and Dolores Volk, custodian 

Portraits were selected that reflect the themes of the 1619 Project, specifically, civil rights and racial justice. There will be an artist reception and presentation by Robert Shetterly on November 2, 5-7 PM. 

Robert Shetterly was born in 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated in 1969 from Harvard College with a degree in English Literature. At Harvard he took some courses in drawing which changed the direction of his creative life — from the written word to the image. Also, during this time, he was active in Civil Rights and in the Anti-Vietnam War movement.

For more than 20 years Robert Shetterly has been painting the series of portraits Americans Who Tell the Truth. These portraits have been traveling around the country since 2003. To date, the exhibits have visited 35 states.

The portraits have given Shetterly an opportunity to speak about the necessity of dissent in a democracy, the obligations of citizenship, sustainability, US history, and how democracy cannot function if politicians don’t tell the truth, if the media don’t report it, and if the people don’t demand it.

Robert Shetterly lives with his partner Gail Page, a painter and children’s book writer and illustrator, in Brooksville, Maine

York Diversity Forum was founded in 2003 by members of the York Community who were concerned about local issues of discrimination and prejudice. We seek to promote awareness, understanding, and acceptance of diversity through education and advocacy. We envision a community that is open and integrated--where all people and ideas are welcome. We encourage members to respect one another’s ideas and opinions. We are open to points of view that may differ from our own.