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From Zimbabwe to Santiago

Traveler’s exhibit is a journey around the world

Created date

October 22nd, 2013

Bengal tigers hadn't been seen in three weeks when Anita Ream set out on safari in India's Ranthambore National Park. But the odds were in Anita's favor as she found herself returning the gaze of one such elusive tiger, whose intense stare she captured through the grass in three quick clicks of her camera. The resulting flawlessly framed photograph was on display in the Linden Ponds Art Gallery among 35 others and various artifacts from Anita's adventures. Behind each item is the story of a journey. Chilean-born and for many years the owner of her own travel company, Anita has visited 87 countries and seven continents. The September Artist of the Month exhibit provided a glimpse of those stories. It's unbelievable. We ve known her for years now but never to this degree, says Paul Ricca, a friend of Anita's who also lives at the Erickson Living community in Hingham, Mass. Anita shares her sense of adventure with the Linden Ponds community as president of the National Parks Explorers group, which recently visited Mesa Verde in Colorado, and as an organizer of the Armchair Travelers, a monthly meeting during which community members share photos and stories from their own travels and watch travel documentaries in the Linden Ponds performing arts center.

Peacekeeper and friend

The art exhibit also highlighted a bit more of Anita's biographical story and her role in the Friendship Force, a peace organization started by President Jimmy Carter in 1977. As a result of her involvement with the organization, which facilitated family exchange programs, Anita was asked to be New Jersey's Friendship Ambassador to Ukraine in 1992. She met Ukraine s minister of education, who had just learned of the Montessori education system, which is based on the premise that students choose their education. At the time, Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, and the minister of education was captivated by the concept that students had the freedom to think for themselves, Anita says. I said, Do you really want to do this? He did. Anita facilitated training for teachers and started a foundation to help fund the venture. Today, there are 30 Montessori schools in Ukraine. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the Ukrainian Montessori project. Having learned of Anita's endeavors in Ukraine, Marion Ricca joked that she and other friends who live at Linden Ponds should be bowing to Anita. I'm proud to know her, Marion says.

Honorable photographer

For Anita, being asked to serve as the artist of the month was a surprise. It s an honor because I don't consider myself on the same level as the artists who typically show in the gallery, she says. She's always taken photos but only now [is being] recognized as a photographer, Anita's son Craig says. His mother's photo of the Bengal tiger is on the wall in his kids bedroom. Anita is now a member of the Linden Ponds photography club, and she called upon the advice of fellow member Ray Wolfe as she began selecting photos for the exhibit from her many boxes of photographs. Despite Anita's misgivings about her place in the gallery, Susan Thayer, head of the Linden Ponds Arts Council, says: On behalf of the arts council, we are honored to have this exhibit. No matter the subject, be it Taj Mahal or tiger close-up, Anita has a professional-grade photographer's eye, says Charles Vaughan, a widely respected photographer who lives at Linden Ponds. Excellent composition, color, and widely varied subject interest. In the first week of the exhibit, Anita had sold three photographs: one of two mischievous lion cubs in Zimbabwe, one of daisies dotted with raindrops after a brief shower, and a landscape shot of an Alaskan glacier. Charles adds of Anita's artifacts: Of equal importance are the display of cultural artifacts from the many places she has visited. Not the usual tourist junk, but real representation of the people she has visited. Handmade Japanese dolls, wood carvings from Papua New Guinea, and prayer wheels from Bhutan were among the artifacts on display. Anita explained that prayer wheels, tiny spindles that house Sanskrit verses, are used during Buddhist prayer.

Beautiful homeland

While the exhibit featured pieces from travels far and wide, a large section was dedicated to images and artifacts from Anita's home country, Chile. Anita has captured Chile's natural wonders in the mountain peaks of the Cuernos del Paine, along with Chile's manmade marvels, in a shot of a 1540 church juxtaposed with a new skyscraper in Santiago, Chile's capital. Anita wore a traditional Chilean costume to greet members of the Linden Ponds community at her Meet the Artist event, which coincided with Chile's National Day. While she continues to introduce her neighbors to her native country through visual work and stories, Anita has also done so in a literal sense. In January 2012, Anita led a tour group, including residents of Linden Ponds, to Chile and plans to do so again.

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