Sincere thanks to those of you who came to the Gallery Talks on Nov. 2 and 3! It is my pleasure and honor to share this exhibit with caring individuals. I continue to meet new people and make connections that matter. Our drops in the bucket do count.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then these portraits are worth millions. Each photograph in the Portraits of Uganda collection tells a story; a story of a place and a culture which is authentically beautiful – not defined by fashion, fad or development. These images are timeless, even though many of them were taken nearly 20 years ago. While they represent a place and time, as all photographs do, on a broader scale they speak about the incredible richness of life that co-exists with poverty environments. Our assumptions about impoverished conditions are challenged as we witness joy, community and simplicity in the lives of those who have not been consumed by the material world. Children laugh and play; people work hard to sustain life; they help each other build; they socialize at the markets; they eat together and tell stories for entertainment.
It’s interesting to me that the 1,000 words communicated through each picture are different for each viewer. We look at things through our unique lenses and set of filters. Our filters include our past experiences; our socio-economic situation; our race, religion and nationality.
One visitor to this exhibit while it was on display in Atlanta told me that one of the portraits reminded her of herself as a child and that it brought back a flood of memories. Another viewer, a white South African woman, reacted to “Gift of the Soul”, a portrait of a Ugandan woman holding a brick mold, “Stunning. I feel like I know her.”
Older Americans have told me that the images remind them of their childhood – “growing up on a farm” – or how it used to be here during the Great Depression. And for many who have traveled or lived overseas, the portraits bring back vivid memories of similar experiences and special people who remain in their heart.
For me, these images represent a lifetime of lessons. Amazing how 3 years can impact a whole lifetime. The 240 pages of Village Wisdom tell that story and my hope is that my book will inspire others to stretch internal and external borders to engage in their own transformational endeavor.
Thanks again to everyone who came to the Gallery Talks. The exhibit will be in Asheville at A-B Tech through December 22. If you have a group that you would like to bring for a presentation, I am happy to schedule a time to meet with you at the gallery. Contact me directly at 828-273-6342.