"Signs of Immortality"
A Journey into Burma and Laos
Photographs by Regula Franz
March 7-March 30
Friday, March 7, 2003, 7-10 pm
This exhibition is comprised of color photographs taken in Burma (presently known as Myanmar) and the People's Republic of Laos, two stops on a yearlong journey trough Southeast Asia. Both countries had been isolated from Western influence for almost forty years.
Having worked in Germany as a photojournalist and editor for five years, I was well aware of the politically incorrect decision to venture into Burma, a country known for its human rights violations and a ruthless military dictatorship. Yet, I knew that the people of Burma and Laos, despite their political reality, are deeply rooted in Theravada Buddhism, a spiritual quest I have ventured on since the first time I set foot on Asian soil ten years ago.
The result is a body of work entitled "Signs of Immortality" - a glimpse into an ancient, prevailing civilization so vastly different from Western reality.
As a lifelong documentary photographer on an odyssey across the world's boundaries of geopgraphy and nationalities, it has always been my intention to direct the public view towards the unfamiliar ways of existence I find in foreign cultures. Enduring traditions, and the omnipresence of practiced spirituality so visible in Buddhist societies, were my focus - the colors, tones, sounds and silence my guide.
Regula Franz was born and raised in Switzerland and received a Bachelors Degree in English, Art History and Anthropology from the University of Basel. She later earned a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from Virginia Commonwealth Univsersity in Richmond. Relocating to Hamburg and Berlin, Germany in 1993, she worked as a photojournalist and photo editor for a national newspaper. In 1998, she took a one year sabbatical to travel through Southeast Asia, Nepal and Australia, returning to America in 1999. Currently, she teaches workshops and classes at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Studio School and the Hand Workshop Art Center.
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Cigarmaker, Bagan, Burma
Palm Reader, Mandalay, Burma
Monk washing, Mandalay, Burma
Anamapura Monastery, Mandalay, Burma
Watermelon Art at Kyiak-tyio, Burma
12th Moon, Kyiak-tyio, Burma