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E. E. Kono grew up in the Driftless Area of the Upper Mississippi River Valley. It’s a region defined by the river whose flowing waters link land to the sea, past to the present, and local to global. The area’s ancient limestone bluffs are scattered with fossils from a prehistoric sea and dotted with effigy mounds shaped like bears and birds and serpents by Eastern Woodland Natives. Growing up in such a place taught Kono to perceive the world in ways that she might not have otherwise: A world full of connections and layered meanings that drift between cultures and time.


Equipped with these influences, Kono spent much of her adult life in far flung locales, exploring diverse perspectives, and gathering stories that would inform her art. In 2022 Kono returned to live in her hometown of Dubuque. The “Drift” exhibition themes and symbols are drawn from the local landscape -reflecting, like the river’s waters- its complex past and shifting present.  In the work seen here, Kono's paintings depict mythical figures from a variety of cultures, rendered in the traditional European technique of egg tempera, creating an intriguing interaction with our contemporary world.

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