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Exhibit shows artists’ responses to recent fire

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Ojai Valley News photo by Andra Belknap
Theodore Gall's “Earth” (left) and Duane Dammeyer's “Group Hug” are part of the Thomas Fire-inspired exhibit, “Scorched Souls.”
Andra Belknap, Ojai Valley News reporter
After the  December Thomas Fire, Richard Amend asked his fellow Ojai Studio Artists (OSA) to represent the event through artwork. More than 60 heeded his call.
Their works include the painted image of a dog and cat snuggling (“Happy to Be Home” by Sharon Butler), an altar dedicated to “the fierce and gracious fire and the aftermath of deep trust,” (“FIRE. ASHES. PRAYERS” by Shahastra Levy) a portrait of a local man sitting peacefully in the ruins of his former home (“ACCEPTANCE” by Duane Ells) and a gray luster vase molded to include the visages of ghostly horses (“Red Thunder” by Valerie Freeman).
From those works, Amend curated the exhibition, “Scorched Souls,” that opens at the Ojai Valley Museum March 10.
“We're all still scorched. Even if you escaped completely fine and you didn't lose anything, it still has done this emotional damage to all of us and we're still touched by it,” said Wendy Barker, executive director of the Ojai Valley Museum. “I think it's a really strong show. There are some really powerful, sad and wrenching pieces, and there are also pieces that are really hopeful.”

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