Staff Report

Photographer Theresa Gingras finds meaning in the world by looking through her camera lens. The intrepid photojournalist just returned from a summer trek to Southeast Asia with an armload of images she will exhibit in her one-woman show, “Myanmar: Moments in Life.” Opening Wednesday, Aug. 23, in the Ann Foxworthy Gallery on the Allan Hancock College campus, the work depicts the faces, colors and life of the Burmese people and culture. The exhibit is on display through Friday, Sept. 29.

Generations (image copyright 2017 by Theresa Gingras)

The artist’s fascination with world religions and cultures has led her to visit India, Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia. Gingras’ camera captures her search for a deeper understanding of the diversity and universality of humanity, particularly in the faces of the people she encounters wherever she goes.

The naturally curious Gingras is drawn to photography as a means of exploring the world around her.

“I’m intrigued with Buddhism in general, and specifically with the mystery of Myanmar. While Burmese is the official language of Myanmar, the smaller ethnic groups living in the fringes of the country speak in tribal dialects. I wanted to photograph these smaller ethnic regions whose historic traditions are slowly giving way to modern progress,” Gingras said.

Who’s Watching Who (image copyright 2017 by Theresa Gingras)

Formerly called Burma, Myanmar is comprised of approximately 135 ethnic groups. The photographs in this exhibit were taken in the regions of the Chin, Shan, and Kayah states, as well as the central region of Mandalay, where the historic temples of Bagan are located.

Ann Foxworthy Gallery Director Marti Fast is excited about the juxtaposition of Gingras’ work with a visit from a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks to Santa Maria campus, September 5-8.

“The monks will create a sacred sand mandala in the center of the gallery floor over the course of four days. I’ll leave most of the photographs on the walls so visitors to the gallery will experience the Tibetan monks in deep concentration as they create the mandala, while images of monks from Myanmar seemingly look on. It’s an unusual and inspiring opportunity for our campus and the greater community,” Fast said.

Young Monk with Incense (image copyright 2017 by Theresa Gingras)

Gingras is available to speak to classes in the gallery. To arrange a visit, contact her at (805) 451-4224.

Admission is free, but campus parking is $2 per vehicle. The Ann Foxworthy Gallery is located in the Academic Resource Center, building L-South, in the heart of the Santa Maria campus. The gallery is open Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-7:45 p.m., and Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and is closed on weekends and college holidays.

For more information, contact Marti Fast at (805) 922-6966 ext. 3465 or (805) 268-2554.