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The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

A view a world away

A View from Half a World Away

Five Texas photographers, including UTSA President Ricardo Romo, traveled to Shanghai last semester to display their work and unveil a view of Texas that many from the country have never seen. At the invitation of the China Photographers Association, Peter Brown, Al Rendon, Joel Salcido, Ansen Seale and Romo showed their photographs of ranches, vaqueros and rodeos in the exhibit Infinite Horizon: Visions of Texas.

The exhibit was on display at the 14th annual China International Photographic Art Exhibition.

"The five photographers featured in this exhibit have an eye for South Texas," said Curator Arturo Infante Almeida, UTSA art specialist. "With patience and understanding, they have been able to capture small-town-Texas in their lenses like nobody else. Their photos are poetic, and they will offer unique insight to all who see them on display."

Donald Lien, director of the UTSA Confucius Institute, facilitated the trip and said Texas is largely unknown to the Chinese, and similarly, China is a mystery to Texans.

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

Following the exhibit, the five spent two days taking photographs of the region. 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.

"I looked at the complexities of Chinese culture and society," said Romo. "It’s an enormous country—80 percent rural—and we were all fascinated by the rural aspects. People go to Beijing and Shanghai. We went to a small town and got to see a play that’s been performed for hundreds of years. I like to look at small communities and how they unite and celebrate together."

The trip also took the Texas photographers to the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square and the town of Wenzhou.

They returned with gripping images from the countryside— and the people—that they displayed at UTSA’s Institute of Texan Cultures through May.

"Many Chinese are familiar with American customs and the American way of life, but the Texas culture is foreign to them," said Lien. "This exhibit and cultural exchange connected the two communities, bringing each culture to the heart of the other."

–Lety Laurel

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