June 9 2018. My little wood and paper diorama "Reno cycling" is part of the fundraising show for the awesome Reno Bike Project "We Heart Bikes". The Reno Bike Project is one of the most amazing places I discovered living in Reno. They got me on wheels on day 2 of my arrival in this wonderful biggest little city in 2011. Now I also have my husband and two kids wheeling around thanks to them.  I'll give them anything to help them get more people on bikes.

"Reno Cycling" paper, watercolor and wood, 15x20cm, 2018

June 5 - July 9 2018. More fun exhibitions with local amazing artists: I show two of my old-style oil paintings, and one of my more recent dioramas in the collective show "Have A Seat" at Reno's Truckee Meadow Community College Main Gallery, organized by the very special artists Marti Bein and Joan Arrizabalaga and The Wedge.
"Untitled". Oil on wood, 20x30xm, 2010

May 7 - May 23 2018. I am honored to have my charcoal drawing "Self-Portrait with Child" included in  the collective show on Self-Portraiture, together with other wonderful and fun regional artists, at the Studio 2035 Gallery, Reno, NV, USA.
"Self-Portrait with Baby" 1mx70cm, charcoal on cardboard, 2004.

May 3 - July 6 2018. I am taking part in the group show 'True Grit' in Carson City's Bristlecone Gallery, where artists will show what they can create with a used deck of cards from some of the local casinos including Casino Fandango, Carson Nugget and Gold Dust West.

April 14 - July 14 2018. I am joining more brilliant local artists in this super fun collective show called "Beverly and Her Stuff" at the Oats Park Art Center, Fallon, NV.

I will contribute with two pieces, inspired by my love for nature, pastoralism, dancing, and Basque and Nevadan humor.
"Ardi Txurria", Local wool on board.
"Ardi Beltza", Fabric on cardboard.
In the Basque language, Euskara, 'ardi beltza' means black sheep, and 'ardi txurria' means white sheep. The costume for 'Ardi Beltza' was inspired by my meeting and drawing the portrait of Kiaya Memeo, Basque Elkoite and founder of the innovative Ruby Mountains Basque dancing group Ardi Baltza.

My two pieces also refer tongue in cheek to Emir Kusturica's wonderfully eccentric and romantic Balkan comedy 'Black Cat, White Cat', and what it means to think outside the box and take the necessary risks of being a black sheep.

Kiaya Memeo posing for me at Elko's Western Folklife Center, February 2018. Photo courtesy of Kiaya Memeo

April 12 2018.  I am part of a group pop-up show "With Water We Thrive" at The Holland Project, in Reno, NV, to bring awareness to water-related issues in the Great Basin area. I will donate 60% of the sale of my small diorama (see below) to this grassroots campaign.
"Defend the Sacred", cardboard and watercolor, 10x7inches.

March 2018. Big thank you to Txomin Laxalt for his article in the magazine Ibilka about my work relating to the Basque diaspora.

I am based in Nevada, USA, until October 2018, to continue my portrait-painting of American Basques.
January - September 2018. My portraits of Joan Arrizabalaga and Marie-Louise Lekumberry are on show in the Wiegand Gallery, as part of the collective exhibition "Basques and Buckaroos" organized in Elko, NV, USA. My participation was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Western Folklife Center and a Jackpot Grant from the Nevada Arts Council.

January 31 - February 3 2018. I draw the life-size portraits of two very special members of the Basque community in Elko, NV, AnaMari Arbillaga and Kiaya Memeo, during the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. My participation was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Western Folklife Center and a Jackpot Grant from the Nevada Arts Council.
Drawing AnaMari, under the watchful eyes of two local scouts.

January 2018. I am the proud winner of a Jackpot Grant from the Nevada Arts Council. The grant will assist me in covering costs for travelling to and portrait-painting live at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, taking place in Nevada Jan 31 to Feb 3 2018.

December 2017. My latest article "Face to Face: Painting the Basque Diaspora" is published online with BOGA: Basque Studies Journal
Painting Marie-Louise Lekumberry in Nevada, 2011.
November 27 2017 - January 15 2018. I show my dioramas in an exhibition entitled "Life on Paper", with the Jerusalemite artist Sari Wurtman at the Jerusalem International YMCA.

Sari and I work with paper to create very different images and sensations.
Sari's creations, at first glance, appear to be paintings on canvas, but when you look closer you discover that they are made from hundreds of pieces of paper. The paper is glued on its narrow side, so looking straight at the work shows only fine lines. The viewer discovers that, in order to expose the richness, a change is required in the angle of observation. Each angle emphasizes or conceals elements in an apparently objective reality.
My work, on the other hand, gathers discarded paper and cardboard to give them a new life, always relating to the environment in which they were found. In the context of Jerusalem, I draw attention to the irony of the destructive trashing that goes on in this Holy Land at the same time as I call for the celebration of the beauty and power of this extraordinary place.
Below are some of the works on show:

"Arcadia in the Holy Land", watercolor on cardboard. Size approx. 30x15 cms. Sale price 400USDollars. Includes plexiglass frame.

"Rechavia-Katamon, West Jerusalem", watercolor on cardboard. Size approx. 20x20 cms. Sale price 350USDollars. 
"The Valley of the Cross, West Jerusalem", watercolor on cardboard. Size approx. 20x30 cms. Sale price 400USDollars. 

"Artas, Palestinian Territories (West Bank)", watercolor on cardboard. Size approx. 20x30 cms. Sale price 400USDollars. 

"Dura, Palestinian Territories (West Bank)", watercolor on cardboard. Size approx. 20x30 cms. Sale price 400USDollars. 
October 1 - November 26 2017. My show 'Life in the Holy Land' is on at the Jerusalem International YMCA. This exhibition features artworks in different media and styles: traditional realist portraits and still-lives in oil paint, and dioramas – three-dimensional scenes drawn and painted on recycled material. All works depict life in the Holy Land.

My work originally focuses on people, but since I live in Jerusalem, I have turned in addition to the question of the representation of nature, and how we see and interact with it. So I have also been experimenting with new modes of artistic expression that integrate recycled material. My main concern in this exhibit is with modernity and conflict in the Holy Land that are appropriating, re-shaping and often destroying the natural beauty and traditional ways of working with the land.

This is a small detail in one of the dioramas. I invite visitors to look out for these animals indigenous to this land!

November 5 2017. I will give a workshop at the YMCA: "Fresh Eyes on Used Material'. This workshop is conceived to tackle the need to look at our surroundings with new eyes, and to think about our consumption of objects that remain in the environment after we have discarded them. How can we avoid consuming so many things, and how we can use those things that have been discarded in new and creative ways?

August 10-28 2017. I am showing my dioramas of sheepherding in Palestine and the Basque Country in the solo exhibit "Land, Sheep and People" at the Basque restaurant On Egin, in the Berlin neighborhood of Neukölln, with the support of the Basque Cultural Center of Berlin.

Inspired by the secular tradition of pastoralism, this exhibition shows artworks in small formats, conceived as 'dioramas', which depict pastoral scenes in the Basque Country and Palestine. In these two very different contexts, small-scale sheepherding has undergone great transformations over the course of the last decade, at the same time as remaining a fundamental element in the construction of collective identity.

The dioramas are made with recycled material, coming for example from cereal boxes. Painted in watercolor, the scenes in them evoke the contrast between the bucolic and idealized appearance of this traditional way of life and the reality of life today with all its challenges - political, economic, social and environmental.

July - September 2017. My still-life paintings of Palestinian crafts and natural objects are on show in the Guesthouse of Saint George's Cathedral in East Jerusalem.

From top clockwise: 'Hebron glass and garlic', 'Hebron glass and East Jerusalemite bread', Hebron glass, ceramics and lemon', and 'Bread, flowers and lemons from East Jerusalem'. Prices range from 750 to 950 US$.

June 2017. My series of dioramas or "ethnographic tableaux" featuring the fauna and flora of Israel and Palestine is growing...

Why do I call these dioramas "ethnographic tableaux'?? Because they are based on my personal observation and participation in these contexts, and are a play on the French term 'tableau vivant' which means the live re-enactment of a scene and thus relates to my original academic training as a realist painter, as well as my work as an ethnographer.

I began this project in earnest in 2016, propelled by several determining states of mind: surrounded in Jerusalem (where I live since 2015) by so many tragic instances of varying forms of violence, it became necessary for me to explore another way of doing art that could re-connect me with the innocence and wide-eyed wonder at the world that we all originally have as children. I made myself re-discover the simple pleasures of playing with small things, making new objects out of used or organic matter. In the process, I re-connected with the concept of 'bricolage' that the anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss introduced to describe the human inclination to make sense of one's environment by resorting to material resources at hand. I went back to simple illustrations, and together with bricolage, re-created little worlds in the form of dioramas that speak about the reality around us but in a more light-hearted way. I use recycled and organic material as a way to also bring attention to the excessive production and consumption of things that destroy our natural environment.

One series of dioramas focuses specifically on pastoralism, something I have felt close to since I was a child being with the animals in the Basque Country. Since living in Jerusalem and getting to know  Bedouin shepherd families, I re-discovered the deep affection for something profoundly human and intimate with the natural environment. Sheepherding is a way of life that is undergoing great changes, faced with acute political, economic and environmental challenges. All this I seek to evoke in these dioramas.
'Ploughing, near Dura, Palestine (West Bank)'

'Sheep, donkey and shepherd near Hebron and settlements, Palestine (West Bank)'
'Sheep and shepherd near Hebron and settlements, Palestine (West Bank)'
'Bedouin family and sheep near Har Homa settlement, between Jerusalem and Bethlehem'

'Off to school, near Hebron, Palestine (West Bank)'
'Olive picking, near Bathir, Palestine (West Bank)'

'In the spring, with the activist group Ta'ayush, sheep and Bedouin shepherds in the Jordan Valley, Palestine (West Bank), Israeli army and outpost closeby'
Half a dozen sessions later, Andy's final portrait. 
May 2017. I complete my portraits of Andy Griffel, Anne Sassoon and Eddi Huzaineh, three wonderful individuals I have had the good fortune to spend time with these past months.
First day with Andy in my studio in Jerusalem.
The final portrait of Anne.

Anne and I painting each other in her studio, Jerusalem.
Eddi's first day posing in my studio.
The final portrait of Eddi.

January 2017. I am working on several projects:

1. Portrait painting special individuals that I have the privilege of meeting in Jerusalem. Usually the person comes to pose for me in my studio. Currently I am completing a portrait of fellow artist Batnadiv Hakarmi, pregnant of her first child.

2. Painting a series of landscapes of Jerusalem that take in both the old and the new constructions of this complex city.

3. Constructing dioramas made from used cereal boxes, depicting the life of Bedouin sheepherders today. I link it with my experience of pastoralism amongst the Basques in their homeland and in the American West.

4. Painting still-lives including the beautiful glass and ceramics by the Palestinian artisans of Hebron.

5. I am composing illustrated children's stories. One of these is 'Maman et Papa Noel'. Traditions are invented and change with time and usage, and so we can play a role in moulding them. With this particular story, I will be giving protagonism to the female figure in the secular and so-far partial tale of Father Christmas.

6. Making comical illustrations of everyday life in Jerusalem with my 2 and 4 year old children. Selected drawings can be found on my drawing blog.

7. As part of my daily illustrations, I have recently included the depiction of an individual climbing a tree and witnessing current social and political events that I identify with. Selected drawings can be found on my drawing blog.

8. I contribute weekly a cartoon on local politics in the Basque Country to the Basque paper Herria that comes out every Thursday. The cartoons can also be found on my drawing blog.

And finally, of course, writing ethnography. One paper focuses on the art world in East Jerusalem. Another on an auto ethnography of art and politics in regions of conflict. And a third on painting portraiture as part of ethnographic research...
Oil sketch of the Valley of the Monastery of the Cross, viewed from my studio. 40cm60cm canvas

Happy New Year! I inaugurated this year climbing a tree for enlightenment, hope, love and freedom.

November 3 2016: I am invited by Dr. Gorka Mercero, lecturer in Basque Studies at Liverpool University, UK, to give a talk via Skype entitled "Changing Boundaries in the Basque Country: a multi-disciplinary perspective", about how identity politics have evolved in this region over the past few years and how to interpret them. The talk was scheduled as part of a study week on the topic of Borders, organised by the University's Modern Languages Department, with the help of the Basque Cultural Institute Etxepare.
October 2016: I am doing an Artist Residency in Motherhood that will last a year. ARIM is an initiative launched by the artist Lenka Clayton specially for artists who are also mothers. I find it helpful for delving into the sources of inspiration offered by the world of parenthood. Through ARIM, my work is developing in a more inter-disciplinary and multi-medial way, in which humour and play have central roles. It currently takes the concrete form of drawings and dioramas comically documenting daily life with a one and a three-year-old in the quirky and challenging context of Jerusalem, with all its sociopolitical tensions.
I will continue this residency until October 2017. I am so far the only participant of ARIM in the region of Israel-Palestine.
View of the Old - and New - City of Jerusalem (watercolour on cereal box)

September 8 -15 2016: I am honoured to be featured in the Basque Weekly Magazine Herria. I talk about my experience of living in Jerusalem, and what it is I am doing there as an anthropologist and an artist.
May 2016: My article on "Anthropology with a Paintbrush" published in the Visual Anthropology Review now includes supplements for classroom activities.
April 2016: I work on a self-portrait with Noa Laila and fellow painter Batnadiv Hakarmi
Painting in progress...

My painting in progress, fellow painter Batnadiv Hakarmi working alongside, and Noa in the middle, taking a rest from her posing..
One of Batnadiv Hakarmi's paintings of me
Painting in progress..

April 2016: I take part in the collective guerrilla exhibit organized by the Center for Imaginative Ethnography as part of the Society for Applied Anthropology's Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, with a video of the painting process with the late artist Nestor Basterretxea, and pop-up drawings of the process.

February- May 2016: My drawings of laundry in Jerusalem are on show in Riverside, California, USA, as part of the exhibition ‘Hanging Out’ and the project 'On the Line' conceived by Susan Ossman, from the Department of Anthropology of the University of California Riverside.
Men's shirts in the ultra orthodox Jewish quarter of Mea Shearim, Jerusalem.

February - April 2016: My portraits of Marie-Louise Lekumberry (see picture) and Nestor Basterretxea are on show at the Musée Basque of Bayonne, in the French Basque Country, as part of the exhibition on Art and the Basque Diaspora. The exhibition will then go to the Palacio de Contestable, Pamplona (May-July) and later to the Prison des Eveques, Saint Jean Pied de Port (July-August), within the framework of the Spanish Basque city of San Sebastian-Donostia as European Capital of Culture 2016.