John Banasiak Presents Anthology of Midwestern Backyard Madonnas at Mount Marty College’s Bede Art Gallery in January

January 2, 2018

The Bede Art Gallery will kick off 2018 with a collection of color photography by John Banasiak entitled “Anthology of Midwestern Backyard Madonnas” starting January 2, 2018. 

Growing up in a Polish/Ukrainian community south of Chicago in the 1950s Banasiak was continuously fascinated with the culture and folk art of home gardens and yard decoration.

“Birdbaths, pink flamingos, mirror globes, whirligigs, plastic deer, lawn jockeys, birdhouses, statues of various saints, and “bathtub” Madonnas infused the front and backyards of my childhood neighborhood with an atmosphere of the fantastic, the spiritual, and the surreal.”

The backyard Madonnas were especially fascinating to Banasiak, as they varied from religiously serious and reverent to fantastically humorous, surrealistically bizarre, or even all of these together at once. He started photographing them in 1972 and, in the years since, Banasiak has captured hundreds of Madonna environments across the Midwest starting in his hometown of Harvey, Illinois to his current home in Vermillion, South Dakota.

Banasiak collection of images, which are captured with a 4x5 view camera using black and white film and hand colored to the desired effect, will be displayed in the Bede Art Gallery from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. starting January 2. The exhibit is free and open to the public and will conclude with a reception and gallery talk on January 26 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

To learn more about the Bede Art Gallery or MMC’s fine arts degree programs and curriculum, please call 605-668-1545 or visit