Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sacred Place: A father and daughter share their vision of home

Zinta Aistars and her father, Viestarts Aistars
Come join us!

If you are in the greater Kalamazoo, Michigan, area this Friday, May 2, come to the Kalamazoo Art Hop and enjoy a city full of art and refreshments while you view.

I am proud to announce that my father and I are having our first combined art show at Fire Historical and Cultural Arts Collaborative, 1249 Portage Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 5 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. We will both be present to meet and greet, answer any questions. All work on exhibit will be for sale.

Sugar and Cinnamon Hens (Photo by Zinta Aistars)

ZINTA AISTARS Artist Statement (Photography)

While my primary passion and occupation is as a writer, creating images in the mind’s eye with words, photography is a second art form that intrigues me with its potential to show us the world from a perspective we may have otherwise missed. Putting a lens before the eye can open the eye to detail, to the changing qualities of light and shadow, to the surprise of composition, putting together unexpected elements. But mostly … light. Light changes the ordinary into the extraordinary. It burnishes the rusted and old into gleaming gold. It turns the discarded into treasure. It creates magic in the every day.

Since I moved to a 10-acre farm in southwest Michigan in March 2012, I have become addicted to photography. There’s no other way to put it. Wherever I go as I walk this land, I carry a camera in my pocket. I don’t even go to the mailbox without my camera in hand. I live in a place that is a blend of forest, field, pond and sky, and a distant horizon that invites a dream of beyond. Over these past two years, I have built a collection of photos that show the changing seasons, the changing hours of the day and night, and the diversity of wildlife that shares this corner of my paradise with me.

I call this place Z Acres, and to me, it is a sacred place. Every hour here brings a blessing. It is my living prayer and my answer to prayer. Photography is how I share that blessing.

To learn more about my world and my work, visit .

Dandelions, watercolor painting by Viestarts Aistars 

VIESTARTS AISTARS Artist Statement/Bio

Born in the summer of 1927 in Dobele, Latvia, Viestarts Aistars was the eldest of four sons in a family with a legacy of love for the arts.  He immigrated to the United States in the aftermath of World War II, when Latvia was occupied by the Soviet army and the Aistars family was listed for deportation to concentration camps in Siberia, where many Latvians died. Chicago was Aistars’ first home in the United States, and he enrolled in the Art Institute of Chicago, where he studied art while learning to speak English. His education was interrupted when he was drafted into the U.S. Army, but he returned to the Art Institute after the war and finished his degree, married, had two daughters. Aistars moved to Kalamazoo in 1959 to become a part of a large and vibrant Latvian community.

Much of Aistars’ work reflects the home he lost, his sacred place, with frequent themes of Latvian culture and folklore, seascapes recalling the Baltic Sea, or the forests he wandered in his childhood. Perhaps it is not such a coincidence that many of these scenes have a resemblance to the landscape of Michigan. His favored mediums are oils, watercolors, and charcoal pencil.

Viestarts Aistars has had his artwork exhibited at the Detroit Art Museum, Indiana Art Center in Indianapolis and South Bend, Indiana, The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Grand Rapids Art Museum, as well as Latvian art exhibits in Seattle, Washington, New York City, Reading, Pennsylvania, and Cleveland, Ohio, to name only a few. He has had more than 60 one-man art exhibits in the Midwest and Eastern United States, including Boston, New York City, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Chicago, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Saginaw, Grand Rapids, and many other cities nationwide. Aistars has won numerous prizes and his work has been purchased by countless private collectors, also by the State Museum in Riga, Latvia, and the Art Museum in Jelgava, Latvia. A painting of a Latvian woman in folk costume hangs today in the Riga Pils (Riga Castle), the president's residence in Riga, Latvia.

To see more of Aistars’ work and read his story, visit Viestarts Aistars blog or his Facebook page

PDF of the May Art Hop brochure (We are location #55)


  1. I would LOVE to come and see this delightful exhibit! However, Florida is a bit too far away to travel from this week. I have enjoyed your lovely photos here and on your facebook page over the past year or so that we have become facebook/blogging friends. The pictures are like looking through the window into your beautiful Z, they are better than that. I can almost hear the birds chirping, the chickens clucking, and the young cat and old dog wandering through the brush and leaves together. I can smell the scent of your woodstove on a cool evening, and the fresh aroma of bread baking on a winter day. Thank you for allowing me a glimpse of the paradise you've named Z Acres....Oh, and I've enjoyed the nectar of your wildflowers in the sweet amber honey gathered right there on your farm and sent to me in Florida! So every morning I have a little taste of Z Acres with my first cup of hot tea! I hope you will compile your photographs in a book someday...that way a little bit of the Z Acres farm can reach the dreams of many others around the world! Blessings to you and your Dad in this very special event.

    1. Ah, Pamela, you are such a treasure. I do hope to compile my Z Acres photos, paired with my writing ... working on something along those lines now. If ever you are in Michigan ...

    2. You just never know! If ever I am in Michigan, you'll be the first to know! Thinking of you and your father today as you have this wonderful time together! What a joy to have this opportunity. I know you are cherishing every moment.

  2. Veiksmi! I have a charcoal drawing that I bought at one of your father's exhibits in Garezers. One of several Latvian artworks I treasure!