“The Barada Hills of Nebraska”: Paintings and Poems at Gallery 1516

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May 4th, 2017

Omaha, NE—This Friday, May 5, Gallery 1516 will show The Barada Hills of Nebraska, a collaboration of watercolors by John Lokke and poems by Jan Wright. Through art and language, the two have worked together to depict the quaint village in the valley South of Omaha, and they have published a book with the same title. Lokke described the unique appeal of the Barada Hills.

“The Barada Hills aren’t on the way to anywhere,” Lokke said. “They’re a destination in amongst themselves you don’t go to the Barada Hills on your way to. You go to the Barada Hills, and when you go there you can you can you get the feeling that it’s a corner of Nebraska that the twenty first century hasn’t quite caught up with yet. It’s kind of a nice change.”

Currently a town of 25, Barada has quite an interesting history. In the 18th century, a French count, Michel de Barada, came to the area to find a Native American Princess who he had seen at a Paris Salon. Despite all odds, he eventually found her and married her. Their son, Antoine Barada, became a larger than life folk hero in the Mid-West.

Wright, originally from Houston, Texas, retired to the area and has been inspired by the landscape.

“I was seeing it with new eyes for the first time and things would strike me in a way that made me want to write about it,” Wright said. “That gave me a certain feeling and I wanted to express that and it just was beautiful is just a beautiful area I was constantly amazed at the beauty of the area but it’s not a big beauty like soaring mountains and you know it’s a subtle beauty really and subtle changes and it just really kind of works on you after a while.”

Despite the Barada Hills’ simple charms, Lokke continually finds new interest in the region.

“After my interest in the plants and animals of the area then it was where the steamboats landed,” Lokke said. “The towns of some of these abandoned towns a lot like Arago, Aspinwall and Hillsdale. It’s like it’s like one door opens another door and then each one of those opens ten more doors each one of those opens ten more you can you go down there looking for one or two things and end up interested in a hundred things. I guess that means life is good.”

Lokke and Wright’s collaboration, The Barada Hills of Nebraska will show at Gallery 1516 on Friday, May 5 at 6pm. For more information, visit gallery1516.org

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