Artful Blogger

An Ancient Tea Party

Warmth l - Nomad of Garalaka by Jeff Fuchs. Click on the image for a gallery of images from the show.

By Paul Gessell

Jeff Fuchs seems to have more in common with Marco Polo or Christopher Columbus than he does with anyone in the 21st century. This Ottawa ex-pat — who bills himself a Himalayan explorer and tea connoisseur — travels through some of the most exotic and remote spots on earth.

Fuchs is also an accomplished photographer. The proof can be found in his exhibition, The Ancient Tea Horse Road, at the photo-centric Exposure Gallery (atop Thyme and Again on Wellington Street West).

This is an exhibition of mainly black and white photographs of an ancient people, mainly in Tibet. Most of the images are close-ups of incredibly intriguing and weathered faces. The biographies of these people living upon the so-called roof of the world are written in their lined, wind-burnished skin. You simply know that each one of these photographic subjects has a riveting story to tell.

Fuchs travelled the mountainous 5,000-kilometre tea route from China into remote sections of Tibet to harvest a collection of photographs that capture clothing and lifestyles that seem more in tune with some medieval past than with the present. Next up for Fuchs is the Salt Road, another ancient trade route through the Himalayas.

Most Tibetan-themed exhibitions staged these days are overtly political or mix religion with the political. Fuchs takes a very different approach. His images are contemporary yet they seem to pre-date the current days of turmoil. They show us Tibetans as they were meant to be.

Until Aug. 9. Free admission. Exposure Gallery, second floor, 1255 Wellington St. W.
**Note that on the first Thursday of every month, Exposure Gallery, like other galleries in the Wellington West neighbourhood, is open until 9 p.m.

Omu the Guardian by Jeff Fuchs. Click on the image for a gallery of images from the show.