The Ancient Marks exhibit at the Susquehanna Art Museum was at times quite breathtaking. It was not so much the tattoos themselves, but the photographic abilities of Chris Rainier. He really is quite amazing. The small pictures uploaded to the internet do not to his art justice.
(News release from the Susquehanna Art Museum http://www.sqart.org/) Photographs by National Geographic Photographer Chris Rainier accompanied by complementary artifacts and sculptures from the Everhart Museum
The cultural and religious significance of tattoos and other body marking is explored via the camera lens in Ancient Marks: the Sacred Origins of Tattoos and Body Marking. This collection of photographs by National Geographic photographer Chris Rainier is coming in June to the Susquehanna Art Museum in Harrisburg.
Rainier, National Geographic photographer, spent seven years traveling across six continents and much of the Pacific Ocean interpreting what it means to mark the body in ritual and initiation. The twenty-eight black-and white photographs examine the traditions of tattooing, piercing and scarification in a provocative exploration of humanity’s enduring effort to tell stories, forge identities and create links to the divine through body art. Rainier plans to lecture at the Susquehanna Art Museum while his exhibit is on display.
Visitors will be able to further explore the cultures introduced by Rainier with sculptures and artifacts on loan from the permanent collection of The Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science & Art, Scranton, PA.
“We’re so pleased to be able to partner with the Everhart to bring world-class artwork to the Capital Region. The Susquehanna Art Museum knows that through collaborating with arts partners across the Commonwealth, we can strengthen our mission and achieve greater programmatic success. We are grateful to the Everhart Museum for their support!” says Corinne Topper, Executive Director.
“We are excited to share Ancient Marks with the Harrisburg community. It’s a wonderful opportunity to explore cultures through various media,” explained Amy Hammond, exhibition manager/preparator. “The sculptures and anthropological artifacts, from the 19th and early 20th centuries, offer a contextualizing viewpoint alongside the contemporary photography of Rainier. I think visitors will leave with a richer understanding of each culture.”
Ancient Marks: the Sacred Origins of Tattoos and Body Marking showcases peoples of Africa, South America, the Pacific Ocean, Asia, and Australia. Also represented are gangs of East Los Angeles, the modern primitive movement of the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, and the Japanese yakuza. Whether proof of maturity in the Karo tribe of southern Ethiopia or a symbol of recognition in the Latino barrio, the transfiguration of the body serves as a way to display the inner self for the world to see. The meaning behind body art ranges from religious belief to personal narrative. Body marking links each of the individuals and the many different cultures as a medium for expressing identity.
Chris Rainier’s work has been featured in Time, Life, The New York Times, Smithsonian, as well as various national and international publications. Rainier, who served as a photographic assistant to Ansel Adams, has received numerous awards for his photography and was included in American Photo magazine’s 100 Most Influential People Working in Photography Today. Rainier is known for his haunting and mysterious images of sacred places and indigenous peoples.
Visit Chris Rainier’s website to view the photographs he took for this exhibit, which he also released as a large photography book. The pictures are quite amazing. http://www.chrisrainier.com