Dharma – life in a Laotian temple: George Serras
George Serras is a PhotoAccess Life Member, an honour awarded for his outstanding contribution to the organisation in the 1990s when PhotoAccess was located in its original Kingsley Street premises. George was a volunteer, committee member and tutor for some years and then our Workshop Manager from 1995 to 1997 before he left to become Senior Photographer at the National Museum of Australia where he still works.
Although he contributed to our 25th Anniversary Life Members exhibition, In for life in 2009, Serras has seldom shown work in Canberra despite working professionally as a photographer for more than 25 years.
It might be said that George Serras was overdue for an exhibition; this oversight has now been addressed in this his first solo exhibition in the HUW DAVIES GALLERY. We are pleased to be playing a part in sharing the beautiful, sensitive black and white images of this outstanding photographer with a wider audience.
Serras speaks about the background to this work, made in the course of a 2011 volunteer assignment at the Luang Prabang National Museum, in his Artist Statement, and about the motivating force for the exhibition in these terms:
'While capturing the images of the monks and novices, I realised that I was creating a body of work that reflected an intimate and genuine life within the temple, displaying simplicity, spirituality and internal beauty. Many monks and novices had come to the temple due to poverty (their parents could no longer support them), others to gain an education and eventually employment. Some saw it as a stepping-stone in their life while others had indicated that they’d remain for their entire lives. The images reflect the timeless quality of life in the temple community'.
We are given a privileged look at this very different culture and the lives of these remarkable people through George Serras’s lens courtesy of his finely attuned eye. While the images in Dharma – life in a Laotian temple have the gravitas and implicit spirituality Serras experienced during his visits to the temple, warm humanity and humour are also clearly a part of the everyday lives of its monks and novices.
Serras will donate proceeds from the exhibition to assist a Vientiane based organisation, Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE), with its prostheses manufacturing and rehabilitation programs.
PhotoAccess is delighted to welcome George Serras back to the HUW DAVIES GALLERY with this beautiful and impressive work.