“I hope you don’t mind if I share the little sketch I had to make seeing you reading in such a confident and slightly ironic way.”
Originally Published: 10 November 2015 in Laguna Beach Art Magazine.
China’s economic and military hegemony has His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan Independence Movement on its knees and the Peoples Liberation Army is about to break its arms and legs.
While Communism and reincarnation are by their natures incompatible, the Chinese Government insists on having a defining role in the selection of the Dalai Lama’s successor. In the meantime, if you utter the Dalai Lama’s name on the streets of virtually any sizeable Chinese city, you will likely be arrested and possibly shot.
Tragically, Chinese intransigence regarding this contentious issue has driven the exiled Nobel Prize winning spiritual leader into a geopolitical wilderness in which his most faithful followers routinely set themselves on fire to protest the subjugation of their homeland’s religion and culture. Tibet’s colonizers, backed by a vicious constabulary, refuse to change their tune on the subject of Tibetan autonomy. Nevertheless, His Holiness Dalai Lama continues to search for a middle ground while maintaining empathy and compassion for all.
Seldom Seen by Western Eyes
Despite the dangers, Laguna-based environmental photographer Tom Lamb has willingly traveled across the roof of the world to photograph blessings proffered by Tibetan elders and their heirs. In 2014, for example, Lamb trekked into the Himalayas to the remote and stunningly beautiful Palyul Choekhorling Monastery. There he witnessed the enthronement of His Holiness Drubwang Pema Norbu, a beatific child who has been recognized as the reincarnation of Penor Rinpoche, a venerated teacher who died in 2009 after revealing the Four Cycles of Heart Essence. In a singularly revealing and joyous portrait by Lamb, created when the photographer was in what he describes as “a meditative walking dream state,” a golden child raises a small bouquet toward heaven as rose petals fill the air and flutter to the temple floor, signaling the conclusion of a five-day religious celebration seldom seen by Western eyes.
Lamb was at the Dalai Lama’s side on a rare visit to Norgeyling, a remote Tibetan settlement camp in central India, a journey that increased Lamb’s admiration for those enduring hardship in exile. Lamb subsequently travelled to Vancouver, Canada, where His Holiness met with Tibetan arrivals who had recently been granted Canadian citizenship. In June of 2015 he accompanied His Holiness to his home in exile in Dharamsala, India, for the first of many 80th birthday celebrations and prayers for a long and healthy life. Lamb also attended a benefit in Orange County where His Holiness addressed issues such as climate change and Tibetan cultural preservation. This benefit was followed by a Global Compassion Summit at UC Irvine and the Honda Center where His Holiness Dalai Lama interacted with fellow Nobel Prize laureates, teachers and students.
A Concerned Photographer Embraces Contradictions
After training as a visual environmental educator and documentary photographer at the Hartford Art School and the Rhode Island School of Design, Tom Lamb has devoted his career to environmental and cultural issues affecting indigenous people. At the same time, he has advanced local and international environmental and cultural causes such as his newly formed Nying-Je Foundation for the preservation of Tibetan culture.
Lamb has created dramatic aerial photographs of worldwide challenges from a land use and preservation perspective. His photographs are also intended to help the viewer understand how land functions as social space. While seeking transcendence, this concerned photographer embraces the real world’s ironies and contradictions.
Lamb was the Vice President of the US-China Environmental Fund, the first non-government environmental organization with an office in China. There he was project director for the Beading International Friendship Forest at the Badaling Great Wall and the Wolong Giant Panda Nature Reserve project in Sichuan Province. During his stay in Western Sichuan in the early 1990s, Lamb encountered the art, culture and traditions of Tibet. It was this experience that subsequently inspired him to create panoramic views of the Lhasa glacis as well as capture the stark beauty of the Tibetan grasslands. By accident or fate, he was the first Westerner in 50 years to gain sanctioned access to Aba County, a previously lost horizon where he captured gobsmacking views of earthen structures, mountains and monasteries while continuing to make empathetic photographic portraits of Tibetans from many walks of life.
Art & Faith Can Contribute to Peaceful Solutions
On the surface, Lamb’s photographs are seductively beautiful. Their colors, patterns and textures emerge as lyrical abstractions that free the viewer from references to perspective, scale and function. In so doing, they reveal an inner beauty and spirituality that resonate with the Dalai Lama’s most inspired teachings. While more strife on the roof of the world probably lies ahead, Tom Lamb’s Tibetan photographs metaphorically implore the hotheads on both sides to give peace a chance.
See more of Tom Lamb’s work at lambstudio.com
My recently curated exhibition for the Irvine Barclay Theater’s 25th Anniversary entitled “Wit Style Power Grace” has a free exhibition catalog that can now be viewed online:
Curator: Henry James Korn
Graphics: Hayden Design
Reminder: You don’t need to be flying through John Wayne Airport to take advantage of the exhibition.
Spanning 140 feet, beautiful images and well-chosen words and objects capture the spirit and historic program contributions Irvine Barclay Theatre has made to the people of Orange County during its twenty-five years.
Both residents and visitors to Orange County have an opportunity to explore some of the artistic diversity presented over the 25-year history of Irvine Barclay Theatre in an exhibition on display at John Wayne Airport (JWA) in the Orange County: Destination Art & Culture exhibition space, located along the pedestrian walkway connecting the Terminal B and C ticketing lobbies.
The exhibition is free and open to the general public, passengers and visitors to the Airport through January 2016.
Convenient parking located at Terminal C, $2 per hour
Additional details: The Irvine Barclay Theater
For more of my visual arts projects including details for the currently running Heritage and Aviation Exhibition at the Orange County Great Park, please visit the Visual Arts Project page.
The Heritage and Aviation Exhibition is located in historical Hangar 244 and features images, displays and artifacts that tell the story of the Great Park from its agricultural roots to its role in the military as a Marine Corps Air Station.
The exhibition includes:
- World War II Airplanes – N3N Canary and SNJ-5 Texan
- Air Force C-135A Stratolifter Memorial – In honor of United States Airmen and Marines who perished in
- History Room – Transports back in time to World War II the Loma Ridge crash departing El Toro Marine Corps Air Station on June 25, 1965.
- Farmers to Flyers – Learn significant events that transformed Irvine’s agricultural land into an active military base
Exhibition Receptions Open to the Public
An opening reception will be held on Saturday, June 20 from 10-11:30 a.m. The Exhibition will remain open until 4 p.m. following the reception.
A 50th anniversary reception and memorial unveiling, in honor of those who lost their lives in the Stratolifter-Loma Ridge crash, will be held on Saturday, June 27 from 1-3 p.m.
Thursdays and Fridays: 12-4 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Location: Historic Hangar 244 | Map & Directions
Note: Exhibition hours may occasionally vary due to private events. Please call (866) 829-3829 for up to date information.
The Orange County Great Park unveiled a Heritage and Aviation Exhibition Saturday to commemorate the history of the site — the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.
The permanent exhibition, located in Hangar 244, features historical displays and artifacts that share the agricultural and military history of the land.
The morning began with a reunion and reception for veterans, followed by a ceremony and presentation of the colors.
Colonel Jaques Naviaux , 81, was among the veterans in attendance. Now residing in Palos Verdes, he first came to El Toro in 1961 after flight school, where he was stationed on and off for 12 years. In his 32 years as a fighter pilot, he flew 400 missions in Vietnam.
“My first fighter squadron out of training was here, so this is my heritage. I think it’s wonderful,” he said of the exhibition.
Henry Korn, retired Manager Emeritus of Art, Culture and Heritage at the Great Park was one of many involved in the creation of the exhibit.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity for the public to learn about the history of the land,” he said. “The El Toro base changed history forever – it stimulated post World War II development of Orange County.”
Allan Mawhinney, 86, is docent at the new exhibition. He was a legal superintendent in the air force for 22 years, creating legal documents for troops who wanted wills after seeing the harsh realities of combat.
“I enjoyed the camaraderie and participation in the military, and this exhibition reminds me of what I contributed,” he said. “It’s important to know and appreciate what happened before you.”
Currently, the exhibition includes actual pieces from the era – two aircrafts, an ejection seat, an instrument panel, helmets and a flight suit. There is also a room that includes audio from the era and relics of home life. Mya Sanders, who is in charge of operations at the Great Park, said displays will rotate.
The exhibition will be open Thursdays & Fridays from 12-4 p.m. and Saturdays & Sundays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free.
Source: Alison Glander, staff writer, Orange County Register | June 20, 2015
A visual arts project I’ve curated is opening on March 15 and runs through January 15, 2016.
I invite you to come and see The 25th Anniversary Exhibition for the Irvine Barclay Theater entitled “Wit Style Power Grace.” Spanning 140 feet, beautiful images and well-chosen words and objects capture the spirit and historic program contributions that the Irvine Barclay Theatre has made to the people of Orange County during its twenty-five years.
The Exhibition is located at the John Wayne Airport in the Pre-security pedestrian walkway between Riley Terminals B and C. Convenient parking is located at Terminal C for $2 per hour.
CURATOR: Henry James Korn
GRAPHICS: Hayden Design