FRESNO — The Henry Madden Library at Fresno State will present a retrospective exhibition of artwork by Kristin Saleri — a pioneering 20th century artist of Armenian heritage who lived in Istanbul. The exhibit will be held from Feb. 6-May 31 in the Leon S. Peters Ellipse Gallery and Pete P. Peters Balcony gallery.

Despite the challenges presented by her gender and ethnicity, she secured her place as a member of the founding generation of modern art in Turkey.

Saleri, who trained in Paris, was influenced stylistically by Impressionism and used art to convey a message of modern feminism. Her work is filled with images evoking her love of the vast Anatolian landscape and its people — from women in traditional village dances to Bosporus fishermen to laborers in booming post-World War II factories.

Kristin Saleri Oil Painting - tree of life
Oil Painting – tree of life

Stylistically, Saleri’s work presents a blend of Eastern mysticism and Western Impressionism. Her folkloric themes range from Christian images to whirling dervishes, and from Mother Earth to the Tree of Life. Her message was one of inclusivity, expressing her deep appreciation for the range of diversity in nature and humanity.

The exhibition is curated by Fresno natives Joyce Kierejczyk and Carol Tikijian, who also curated a spring exhibition at the Fresno Art Museum of works by artists of Armenian descent in commemoration of the centennial of the Armenian genocide. The artworks exhibited are on loan from members of Saleri’s family who reside in Houston.

The public is invited to join Peter McDonald, dean of Library Services, and the Discovering Kristin Saleri committee for the Gala Donors Opening Dinner with the artist’s family and a preview of the exhibition at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5. Tickets for the three-course catered dinner are $100. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Marcie Morrison at 559.278.7177.

For more information on the artist, visit

For more information on the exhibit visit or contact Cindy Wathen at 559.278.1680 (office), 559.593.3604 (cell) or [email protected].

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