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Africa comes to Waterville Valley

May 23, 2012

The Art Gallery at the Margret and H.A. Rey Center in Waterville Valley, NH presents a multifaceted exhibit entitled “Impressions of Africa” beginning on May 26, 2012.  The exhibit includes works by Tanzanian artists Riziki Kateya and Robert Aswani, as well as African wildlife photographs by Waterville Valley photographer, Willey Peckham, and paintings by local artist and musician, Dave Kobrenski. In addition to the art exhibit there will be a discussion by NGO leader, Donald Amueh, on the importance of education for the young of Ghana. The exhibit also includes a live performance by traditional West African musicians, Landaya.

Riziki Kateya

Donald Amueh’s thought provoking lecture, Routes to Africa: One Path to Education in Africa, will start off the event on Friday, May 25, at 7 p.m. in the Gallery.  Donald will share his knowledge of the history of Ghana and how it has influenced his experience as a non-governmental organization leader addressing the social issues in his country. His discussion will also focus on the importance of education for the young people of Ghana and the efforts of non-profit organizations to improve educational opportunities.

Painting by Robert Aswani

The Impressions of Africa art exhibit will be on display in the gallery from May 26-July 1, 2012. This exhibit includes art portraying the diversity of color, style and expression found in African life, culture and environment. This unique exhibit is made possible due to the Rey Center’s collaboration with another non-profit, Routes to Africa.

Traditional West African musicians Landaya will perform during the exhibit’s opening reception on Sunday, May 27 at 6:30 p.m.

Willey Peckham will be giving his Impressions of Africa – Captured on Film slide show on Friday June 29, 2012 at 7 p.m. in the Gallery.

The Rey Center Art Gallery is free and open to the public. There is no charge for any of the above listed events, although donations are always welcome. For more information contact the Margret and H.A. Rey Center at 603-236-3308 or Rey Center Art Gallery hours are Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Meet the Artists 
Riziki Kateya is the first Tanzanian to achieve an international Standard of Quality in botanical illustration.  Riziki studied at Bagamoyo College of Arts and during her studies she was selected for a scholarship to study Botanical Art in London. Riziki then took her studies to the Kew Royal Botanical Gardens where she trained under Christabel King. Riziki is now the artist in residence at Gibbs farm, a 5-star Safari lodge close to Ngorongoro  Crater, where she has worked on commission painting local wild flowers. Riziki has also worked on the Saint Paulia Project, in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania, which is an internationally recognized biological hot spot.  She under took several expeditions into the cloud forest where she painted many rare species of the African violet family. Through her art, Riziki strongly believes she can best express herself and communicate.  For Riziki, art is like “a simple but strong wave that can take an Artist into an extraordinary imagination and expressions”.

Robert Aswani was born in western Kenya in 1971 and as a young child he would accompany his mother to the market. Little did he know at the time that the faces and scenes those young eyes absorbed would become the focus of his life-long work. Complex and colorful market scenes are Robert’s favorite subjects. Robert generally works with acrylics highlighted by watercolor ink to achieve the vivid coloration he is well known for. He enjoys experimenting with various styles according to the piece. “ I love painting market scenes because I am swept immediately back to my childhood where nothing was clear: colors intermingled and moods changed; people moved so quickly you could only capture their faces for a split second. The market is art in motion.” After high school Robert began to paint as a full time artist and although he is now involved in other subject matter apart from market scenes, he keeps in touch with his brilliant color identity.  He now resides in Arusha, Tanzania where he works in his home studio and gallery.

Professional photographer, Willey Peckham, shares images from his adventures in Africa. This rhythmic and stylistic slideshow evokes the wildness, wonder, and beauty of the African landscape and its native animals.  Willey bought his first 35mm camera when he was in college. He honed his photographic skills at concerts and then migrated to a more subtle form of wildlife. Willey’s driving force has always been the art of being able to record a moment in time.  When Willey is not out photographing the natural world, you can find him walking his Bernese mountain dog in Waterville Valley.

Dave Kobrenski, local artist, musician, world music aficionado and cultural diversity advocate has a background in both illustration and graphic design. He uses his creative talents in both the fine and graphic arts realm with the ability to work effectively across varied disciplines.  His rich illustrations demonstrate an evolving talent with brush and paint.  In his spare time, Dave writes, arranges, and performs music, and has studied music extensively in West Africa. He plays the Fula flute, kamale ngoni (10-string harp), djembe, and guitar. He currently performs in the groups Donkilo! Afro Funk Orkestra well as the Landaya Ensemble.

Painting by Dave Kobrenski

Margret and H.A. Rey, authors of the Curious George children’s books series and former summer residents of Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, were artists and adventurers, historians and naturalists, gardeners and stewards. Today their spirit lives on in the Margret and H.A. Rey Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring the Reys’ legacy through art, science, and adventure programs for all ages. For more information please contact the Margret and H.A. Rey Center at 603-236-3308 or visit

About Jan Stearns

I've been living in and loving New Hampshire's White Mountains for most of my life. I moved to Waterville Valley in 1981 and quickly realized why it was dubbed a Yankee Shangri-la. Once you’ve experienced Waterville Valley, you’ll want to call it yours. The great team of Realtors at Waterville Valley Realty can help you find a Waterville Valley home that fits your lifestyle and budget.

2 thoughts on “Africa comes to Waterville Valley

  • stephanie Larkin says:

    Jan, Sounds like a great program on Friday night. How is Norma? Hopefully she is doing well. Here’s to another great summer! Stephanie Larkin

    • Jan Stearns says:

      Hi Stephanie! It DOES sound like a great program – so many fun things happening this weekend. I just hope we can fit them all in! I’m trying to get her up here…you should give her a call and encourage her to come to the valley and have some fun with her friends. Hope to see you soon!

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