The country of Bhutan, officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, holds the distinction of being one of the last nations on earth to retain a native tradition of life and Buddhist faith primarily untouched by modern Western technology and influences. It is this allure that drew Mary Peck to Bhutan, where she traveled to remote parts of this tiny Himalayan kingdom mostly by foot on visits between 1999 and 2005. She was struck by the close link between Bhutanese geography and culture, as evidenced by her experiences with its people and their closeness to nature. This stable and unbroken tradition was maintained through the 1960s, when the first visitors were allowed in Bhutan. The rural communities of Bhutan have endured, and while change is now coming to Bhutan, there is a great effort to see the tradition and culture continue.
"One of the great pleasures of traveling in Bhutan was the opportunity to talk with Bhutanese about their country," commented Peck. "I recorded conversations with many people, and made notes of the more casual exchanges; on my return trips, I had photographs that allowed me to get more detailed explanations about what I had seen. Everyone was generous in taking time to talk about the country’s landscape, beliefs, and customs. The wall labels featured in this exhibition have been compiled from conversations and interviews with the many Bhutanese I talked with; their varied voices are here."
Bhutan: Between Heaven and Earth – Photographs by Mary Peck features
45 black and white photographs and is organized by Phoenix Art Museum. A
fully-illustrated book with essays by Peck and Karma Ura, President of the
Centre for Bhutan Studies, will be available in The Museum Store.
About the Photographer
Mary Peck has been photographing landscapes in various parts of the world for over 35 years. Her work has been exhibited internationally and her photographs are held in many collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the Denver Art Museum.