Wall and A Sacred Geography
June 2, 2006
In 1996 artist/writer Mary Heebner and her husband, photographer Macduff Everton, traveled to the walled Kingdom of Lo in Nepal’s Mustang district to visit Heebner’s daughter, Sienna Craig, an anthropologist and writer who lived in Nepal intermittently from 1993-2005. They rode horses and trekked, stopping at villages along the way. In 2004, Heebner and Everton returned again to visit Craig, who was then working as a medical anthropologist in Lhasa, Tibet. “Mani Wall and A Sacred Geography” — on view at UAL’s Fowler Museum from June 11 through September 10 — is the result of a creative collaboration by Heebner, Craig and Everton, inspired by the landscape of these regions and the wall of painted boulders etched with Tibetan prayers (mani) that they encountered in Nepal.
In 2003, Heebner made individually pulp-painted sheets of paper, using variations of the ochre, gray and white stripes of the mani walls to frame a collection of twelve sonnets that Craig had written about the Himalaya and Tibet. These sheets of paper became the loose-leaf pages of the elegant, limited-edition book A Sacred Geography: Sonnets of the Himalaya and Tibet, which will be displayed at the Fowler in its entirety. Heebner later used the same hues to create the “Mani Wall” series of paintings also on display. Interspersed along the gallery walls will be a selection of fourteen panoramic photographs of Nepal by Everton. Together, the words and images from this family project creative a loving and personal tribute to this sacred region.
Mary Heeber’s collages, paintings, works on paper and artist’s books are exhibited through the U.S. and abroad. A Version of her artist’s book, On the Blue Shore of Silence: Poems of the Sea by Pablo Neruda, was published in 2004. She also writes travel articles for several magazines, including Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Life, and National Geographic Traveler.
Macduff Everton’s widely published photographs are exhibited and collected around the world. He is a contributing editor at National Geographic Traveler and Islands Magazine as well as a correspondent for Virtuoso Life. Currently he is updating his seminal book, The Modern Maya.
Sienna Craig is completing a PH.D. in medical and cultural anthropology from Cornell University. In 1998-99, Craig and her husband, Keith Bauer, founded DROPKA, a non-profit organization whose mission is to partner with pastoral communities in the Himalaya and Central Asia to implement grassroots development and catalyze social entrepreneurship. In addition to her dissertation research, since 2002 she has been an ethnographer and research coordinator with a National Institute of Health/Global Network for Women’s Health project based in Lhasa, Tibet. Her memoir, Horses Like Lighting: A Passage Through Mustang, will be published in 2007.
“Mani Wall and A Sacred Geography” is presented in conjunction with the debut of a major traveling exhibition, “The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama,” and will be on view in the Fowler Museum’s Goldenberg Galleria.