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'Out from the Shadows' on exhibit

LO photographer Paul Sivley captures Zimbabwean women's unique endeavors


Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO: PAUL SIVLEY - Paul Sivley took this photograph of Zimbabwean women. The women are part of a donor-funded program to educate rural Zimbabweans in efficient water system development, so they can effectively water crops with scarce resources. Sivley said that in their village, far removed from civilization, the women proudly displayed a large crop of produce, which allowed them to survive in Zimbabwes shattered economy.

Lake Oswego photographer Paul Sivley is showing “Out from the Shadows: Women of Zimbabwe” at the Wilsonville Library Art Gallery, 8200 S.W. Wilsonville Road in Wilsonville. The project brings Zimbabwean women with unique and motivational endeavors to light.

Sivley’s hope is that the exposure will encourage the women to continue their efforts, bring them additional support and motivate younger Zimbabweans. He believes that supporting these women will have a profound effect on the success of their children, their communities and their country.

Sivley traveled to Zimbabwe in 2009, 2010 and 2012 and met with dozens of nongovernmental organizations, encountering a number of highly inspirational women in rural and urban settings. He said he was “humbled by their tenacity as they struggled against staggering headwinds such as poverty, political corruption, lack of education, debilitating traditions as they pressed for progress.”

His dogged pursuit of interviews with these women resulted in him being imprisoned for four nights as a means of harassment and a signal of displeasure at featuring women’s societal contributions.

Sivley said the project it about “caring, awareness, inspiration, and emotion being used for positive purposes.” The images have been shown at the Tualatin Heritage Center and the Oregon State Office of Equity and Inclusion.

The exhibit can be viewed 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Sivley received a grant from Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) to cover part of the project costs. He volunteers as co-chairperson of Portland Mutare Sister City Association, which has raised approximately $150,000 over the past 10 years to support education and health initiatives in eastern Zimbabwe.

Learn more online at portlandmutare.org or call Sivley at 503-502-3385.

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