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Formerly exiled professor emeritus exhibits artwork in homeland

RELEASED: March 30, 2011

May AM & PM
"Calendar Paintings: May AM & PM" by Tiit Raid

EAU CLAIRE —The artwork of a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire professor emeritus of art is featured in an exhibition in the artist's home country of Estonia.

Tiit Raid traveled to Estonia in September 2010 for the exhibit "Estonian Art in Exile" held at the Kumu Art Museum in Tallinn, Estonia. The exhibit is now on display at the Tartu Art Museum, in Tartu, Estonia, Raid's hometown.

Raid holds bachelor of arts and master of fine arts degrees from the University of Minnesota. He taught at UW-Eau Claire from 1967 to 2002.

Three-year-old Raid, along with 100,000 other Estonians, including artists, intellectuals and teachers, escaped from their homeland in 1944 as the Russian Army was pressing back into Estonia. This, Raid said, meant the potential for repression, Siberian work camps or even death. His father had been taken twice previously by the Russian Army.

"There was no doubt that we had to leave our homeland," Raid said. "We left with two small suitcases and the clothes we were wearing."

The 2010 visit was Raid's fourth visit since 1994, when the country became free. He said that relatives from his father's generation, such as his aunt, are still alive, which makes his connection to the country even stronger.

"Being invited to exhibit work in this major and historical show was thrilling," Raid said.

This is also the first time his work has been exhibited in the country. Raid said that the curators of the exhibit wanted a cross section of each artist's work, so he sent paintings of four different styles: "Calendar Paintings: May AM & PM," 1984, acrylic on paper; "So Why?" 1996, acrylic on wood; "Railroad Bridge Corner," 2007, acrylic on paper; and "Creek Bank," 2010, acrylic on paper.

Creek Bank
"Creek Bank" by Tiit Raid

Raid was one of 70 artists who displayed artwork during the three-month exhibition. The majority of the artists were in self-imposed exile and had either established careers before leaving their homeland or were born in Estonia and received their training elsewhere. The type of art on display included a stylistic range from realistic to abstract pieces.

Dr. Brady Foust, UW-Eau Claire professor emeritus of geography and anthropology, and his wife, Jeanne, traveled with Raid and his wife, Ann, to Estonia for the show.

Foust said that the show was "wonderful," describing it as "very successful, packed, huge." He added that it was also exciting to see Raid talking to the president of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

"I'm very happy to be part of this major exhibition there," Raid said. He donated three of his works to museums in Estonia — one to the Kumu Art Museum and two to the museum in Tartu.

For more information about the show, contact Tiit Raid at raidt@uwec.edu.

-30-

BS/RD/DW

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