WEEKEND: Author shares stories of Kuwait

PORT ANGELES — A woman who left her secure career and home life to teach art to Muslim women in Kuwait is the first speaker in this spring’s “Enter Stage Left” series at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center.

Yvonne Pepin-Wakefield of Port Townsend, author of Suitcase Filled with Nails — her true tale of immersion in Muslim culture — will step forward at 7 p.m. today, Friday, at the fine arts center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

Admission to her talk is by donation.

Pepin-Wakefield’s paintings of the veiled women with whom she worked are part of “Strait Art 2012,” the exhibition currently at the center.

Visitors can see the images while hearing from Pepin-Wakefield about six years living, teaching and coping with culture shock.

In Kuwait, she writes, she learned to “negotiate tribal and misogynistic land mines set by detractors who are threatened by anyone, especially a spirited American woman, who encourages freedom of expression.”

Pepin-Wakefield is a longtime resident of the North Olympic Peninsula and has taught art at Helen Haller and Greywolf elementary schools in Sequim.

Now at work on another book, she continues to display her own art in many galleries across the Northwest.

Suitcase Filled with Nails, which is available on Pepin-Wakefield’s website, www.YvonnePepinWakefield.com, is “an eye-opening look under the veil of young Muslim women that allows readers to see how similar they are to young women everywhere,” said editor and writer Nina Amir.

The memoir is also “a realistic, and sometimes frightening, view of what one can expect if you live and work in the Middle East.”

Others in series

The fine arts center’s Enter Stage Left series will continue Friday, April 20, with “Art at Altitude,” a talk by Linda Crow of Port Angeles.

Crow, a veteran aviatrix and world traveler, will share hundreds of images from Nepal and Bhutan of elders and children, celebrants and musers.

She has “the sensibility of an anthropologist and the eye of an artist,” writes Jake Seniuk, executive director of the center.

She also “has a knack for gaining the trust of her subjects, allowing her to make probing and unaffected portraits.”

The following Enter Stage Left evening will bring Jenny Steelquist and friends to the center for a concert of rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm and blues, classical and jazz April 27.

Finally, on May 4, performer and Port Angeles City Councilman Max Mania will present a program called “Mania 2012: Zombies, Politicians and Mayan Predictions.”

All four events will start at 7 p.m.

More details about the venue are at www.PAFAC.org.

The center, open from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, can be reached at 360-457-3532.

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Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

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