Episcopal center displays China photos

A wooden boat floats on what looks like a river of molten gold. The setting sun bathes a temple, as a boy watches from a far off hill. The ruins of a giant wall rise up from a sea of sand dunes. A group of grinning schoolchildren pose for a camera.

All these scenes are from a series of photographs the University Episcopal Center is displaying. The photographs are from western China, which the U.S.-China Peoples Friendship Association brought to the United States.

“We’re hoping that these pictures will show Minnesotans a side of China they’re not familiar with,” Linda Mealey-Lohmann, membership chairwoman for the association’s Minnesota chapter, said. “West China has a lot of minority groups and cultural diversity, which these photos show.”

The association is an organization that promotes cultural awareness and friendship between U.S. and Chinese citizens, Charles Petersen, national treasurer and the association’s board member said.

“This year is (the association’s) 30-year anniversary, and (the photos) are part of our celebration,” Mealey-Lohmann said.

The Chinese government has an interest in the people of western China and a desire to promote the area’s economic development and improve their standard of living, Petersen said.

“There are 55 nationally recognized minorities in China and many of these are in western China. That is reflected in some of the photos,” Petersen said.

The Beijing Photographer’s Association photos show minorities going about their daily lives, colorful festivals and ceremonies. There are also pictures of the famous Great Wall of China, historic temples and ruins from Mongolia, Tibet and the Chinese provinces.

“They provide a connection with nature that is refreshing, especially in the middle of this urban metropolis,” geography junior Richard Nicholson said.

“It brought some much needed life and color to the University Episcopal Center,” he said. “The center has all these natural colors, browns and beiges, so it’s nice to see some colors that jump off the wall.”

Petersen said the exhibit has been displayed in Chicago; Albany, N.Y.; Carbondale, Ill., and Atlanta.

The association chose the University Episcopal Center for the exhibit because the center’s location has potential for student and faculty traffic, Petersen said.

The University Episcopal Center is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday. The photographs will be on display through Friday.