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Towers of Strength

Artist finds inspiration in 9-11 and other misery.

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Leena Nevalainen-Smith’s Soulful Silence exhibit at Loganberry Annex Gallery caps off four years of work inspired by September 11. The Finnish-born artist was riding in a Manhattan subway when the first plane hit the World Trade Center in 2001. Leaving the train, Nevalainen-Smith heard fighter jets roaring above and saw bystanders making shirts into makeshift bandages for the wounded. “Walking uptown and looking back, I saw the north tower still in flames,” she says. “I think my art grew more serious that day.”

The 24-piece exhibit includes woodcuts, relief prints, and engravings about New York that were created after Nevalainen-Smith moved to Shaker Heights in 2002. “Some of the pieces are somber and evocative,” she says. “Some are lighter, even joyous. These things have been on my mind for a long time.” The front page of The New York Times also serves as motivation: Poverty, racism, and war are also reflected in her artwork. “I am always stunned by the sad pictures,” she says. “You can’t escape the suffering.”
Mondays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Starts: Jan. 4. Continues through Jan. 27

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