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"Reflections of a Changing World" -- 07/14/12 at Art Expressions Gallery

“These photos offer a exclusive glimpse into two countries that are transitioning into the modern world, while still maintaining their gentle, hospitable nature,” said Patty Smith, director of Art Expressions Gallery. “Both Cuba and Myanmar have been increasingly highlighted in the news, but remain utterly foreign to most Americans. This exhibition is a great opportunity to part the veil and see the humanity that unites us all.” The exhibition features 20 images of Myanmar shot by Steve McClelland this year during a three-week exploration of the country. A registered architect and a celebrated architectural photographer, McClelland focused on the architecture, landscapes and people of this mysterious and unspoiled land. “Myanmar is one of the most pure, unspoiled countries in the world,” said McClelland, who has also photographed Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia. “The people are naïve in the best sense of the word – open, trusting, innocent,” he said, “and the country is full of ancient stupas (mound-like structures containing Buddhist relics), temples and palaces. For an architectural photographer, it was nirvana.” Michael Orenich photographed Cuba last spring as part of a humanitarian mission, sanctioned by the U.S. government, and was welcomed with open arms. “I was amazed and delighted by the reception we received,” he said. “The government official at the airport looked at my official documentation from the U.S. government, gave me a big smile, and emphatically said, ‘Welcome to Cuba.’” The exhibition features nearly 30 photographs by Orenich that focus on the daily life of Cuban people of all ages, capturing their rich cultural pride, warmth and perseverance. While most photos of Cuba concentrate on the faded façade of Havana, Orenich was able to travel throughout the island, visiting rural villages and farming areas. “My photographs record the expressions and hope of its youth, as well as the weathered expressions and hardships endured by the aged,” said Orenich, who has specialized in historical architecture and culture during his 40-year photography career. “This, amidst the decay of the city and the toil of the villages, tells a compelling story of the people.”
— July 3, 2012 1:40 p.m.

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