UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures presents China photos by Texas photographers

China photo by Ricardo Romo

Photo by UTSA President Ricardo Romo

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(May 14, 2012) -- After photographing their way through four Chinese cities in 10 days, five Texas photographers are eager to share their memories and experiences. A new photo exhibit, "Texas Photographers: Descriptions of China," is on display at the Institute of Texan Cultures through May 27.

>> An exhibit reception, free and open to the public, is 6-8 p.m., Thursday, May 17 at the Institute of Texan Cultures.

For the homecoming show, UTSA curator Arturo Infante Almeida selected 50 photos from the five photographers: Peter Brown, Al Rendon, Ricardo Romo, Joel Salcido and Ansen Seale. After visiting Lishui City at the invitation of the China Photographers Association, the Texas photographers set out to capture the spirit and culture of China in photographs.

"Every photographer has his own eye," said Almeida. "Even though they were all in the same place, looking at the same people and environments, their photos were so different from each other. These five photographers each had his own unique vision of how he saw China."

The group's itinerary included a brief stop in Shanghai before heading to Lishui City. They spent a half-day in the rural town of Dhu Rong, where a village festival was underway, complete with outdoor theater and a performance of Chinese opera. The trip took the Texas photographers to the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square and the town of Wenzhou.

Donald Lien, director of UTSA Confucius Institute, helped facilitate the trip to China. With an invitation from the China Photographers Association, the five Texas photographers exhibited "Infinite Horizons: Visions of Texas" at the 14th annual China International Photographic Art Exhibition in Lishui City. According to Lien, Texas is largely unknown to the Chinese, and similarly, China is a mystery to Texans.

"This trip to China was meant to improve communication and understanding between Chinese and Americans," said Lien. "One way to do that is to send photographers. Photos can tell us so much."

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The Institute of Texan Cultures is on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, 801 E. César E. Chávez Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m., Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults (ages 12-64); $7 for seniors (ages 65+); $6 for children (ages 3-11); free with membership, UTSA or Alamo Colleges identification. For more information, call 210-458-2300.

The Institute of Texan Cultures serves as the forum for the understanding and appreciation of Texas and Texans through research, collections, exhibits and programs. The museum strives to become the nation's premier institution of contemporary cultural and ethnic studies focusing on Texans and the diverse cultural communities that make Texas what it is.