A traveling exhibition featuring work by contemporary Vietnamese women artists will open in the gallery of the De Pree Art Center at Hope College on Monday, Jan. 7.

There will be an opening reception on Friday, Jan. 11, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The public is invited to both the exhibition and the opening. Admission is free.

The exhibition, "Changing Identity," is the first major exhibition of contemporary Vietnamese artists in the U.S. It features approximately 50 works by 10 artists who challenge the stereotypes and traditional roles of women in Vietnamese society.

Each of the women has a particular way of shaping her work and of identifying herself that is both personal and universal. Through the use of various media, subject matters and aesthetic sensibilities, the artists explore gender and cultural identity and offer a diversified view of Vietnam itself.

"Changing Identity" is toured by International Arts & Artists (IA&A) of Washington, D.C., and is supported in part by the E. Rhodes and Leona Carpenter Foundation and the Henry Luce Foundation. The educational program is supported by a grant from the Ford Foundation, Hanoi.

In its online prospectus for the exhibition, IA&A provides context for the exhibition by noting, "For the past two decades, since Vietnam opened its doors to the West, a booming art business has brought economic prosperity to many artists. Much of this success, however, has been bestowed on men. Vietnamese women, long stereotyped as obedient, docile and living in the shadows of their husbands, have been virtually overlooked by the international art world. In light of economic changes sweeping over the country in the era of globalization, a younger generation of women find themselves in a position to critique prevailing norms and to question the status quo."

The IA&A prospectus continues, "'Changing Identity' provides a chance to see Vietnam through the eyes of artists who have a particular perspective of their homeland and themselves. Not only does it bring to light a previously marginalized viewpoint of Vietnamese culture, it does so from the standpoint of the women themselves, providing a unique opportunity to experience the remarkable talent of these artists."

The curator for the exhibition is Dr. Nora Taylor, who is an associate professor in the Interdisciplinary Humanities Program and School of Art, Arizona State University, Tempe and specializes in modern Vietnamese art. She has written for many publications and has lectured on this topic throughout the world. She recently spent a sabbatical in Hanoi, Vietnam, where she continued her research, and currently has a Fellowship with the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

International Arts & Artists is a non-profit arts service organization dedicated to promoting excellence in the arts - in all disciplines, styles and media. IA&A enriches cross-cultural understanding through its collaborations with museums and cultural institutions, showcasing artists and arts movements in traveling exhibitions to and from the U.S., Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In addition to its traveling exhibition program, IA&A's Design Studio produces a variety of print and multi-media material to enhance promotion of the arts. The USArts International Training Program arranges training placements at arts-related institutions for undergraduates, graduates and young professionals from around the world.

Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at www.artsandartists.org.

"Changing Identity" is traveling to a total of 10 galleries and museums around the country between January 2007 and March 2009. It will continue at Hope through Friday, Feb. 1.

The gallery of the De Pree Art Center is open Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The De Pree Art Center is located on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street. The gallery is handicapped accessible.