1970, acrylic on canvas, 68" x 54"
Betty LaDuke's 2008 exhibition, Children of the World, features 144 paintings, drawings and photographs depicting the strength and resilience of children. At least a dozen countries are presented in early works - black and white photographs dating to 1955 - large-scale paintings, journal sketches and vivid color photographs from her current travels.
Although she attended an arts high school, LaDuke's first encounter with the camera happened in Mexico as a 19-year-old activist working in a poor rural village. Her early photographs include many of the images that still populate her work: children, both shy and bold; birds caged or exploding to freedom; spiny landscapes; and iconic images of mother as nurturer and protector.
LaDuke is emeritus professor of art at Southern Oregon University in Ashland and makes her home primarily in Oregon, though her upbringing in the New York Bronx lingers in her voice. She continues a busy travel schedule in support of Heifer International, an animal and agriculture organization, and has a new exhibition based on those adventures, Dreaming Cows.
LaDuke's work is displayed in museums and universities throughout the United States. She is the mother of author and activist Winona LaDuke who appears literally or symbolically in many of her mother's artworks.