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HAMMOND — Famous Chicago artist Winifred Godfrey will showcase her "Mayan Procession" at Purdue University Northwest.

The procession is a 14-piece collection of life-sized paintings depicting figures representative of indigenous Guatemalan groups in the attire unique to their village.

This exhibit coincides with Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15–Oct. 15. A reception featuring Godfrey will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday in Alumni Hall in the Student Union and Library building.

Associate Professor of History Kenneth Kincaid will deliver brief opening remarks at 5 p.m., followed by a group walk and talk with question-and-answer session through the exhibition by Godfrey.

Godfrey, reached by telephone at her home, said she wanted to do a series of painting to re-create the impressions she had when visiting Guatemala.

"Part of my family is from Mexico and I've lived and traveled there," Godfrey said. "The textiles that the people wear are so distinctive. Each of the villages has a different textile and I wanted to do a series of paintings to depict that. Seeing the indigenous people' intense participation in their religious rituals left a very strong impression on me of the mystery and strength of Mayan culture.

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"As an artist, I wanted to do a series of paintings to re-create the impression I'd had. I did these paintings in 1992 and 1993. The first time I exhibited them was in late 1993," she said.

Judith Jacobi, PNW's assistant vice chancellor University Art Collections and Special Programs, said the "Mayan Procession" paintings have been exhibited in a variety of places across the country, including Washington, D.C., and Harvard University.

"The Mayan Procession is a monumental example of one artist's devotion to sharing her knowledge and experience with the Guatemalan people, and they are among the people who express their religion and culture through the clothes they wear," Jacobi said.

Jacobi said Godfrey is also a celebrated artist of flowers who has produced enormous canvases, showing her interest in nature.

The Thursday event is free. Meso-American inspired hors d'oeuvres will be served.

This celebration is a collaborative effort by the PNW Odyssey program, the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Building Community Through the Arts, and the PNW Multicultural Campus Council. This display supports the university’s values of demonstrating inclusion for all and creating a welcoming, collegial environment that celebrates diversity.

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Southlake County Reporter

Carmen is an award-winning journalist who has worked at The Times newspaper for 20 years. Before that she also had stints at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., The Post-Tribune and The News Dispatch in Michigan City.