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Mani Wall and A Sacred Geography

Mani Wall and A Sacred Geography

June 11, 2006 – September 10, 2006

In Mani Wall and A Sacred Geography, Mary Heebner’s elegant, limited-edition book A Sacred Geography will be displayed in its entirety, along with a new series of her paintings, entitled Mani Wall, and magnificent photographs of Nepal and Tibet by Heebner’s husband, noted travel photographer Macduff Everton. The book combines beautiful pulp-painted sheets of handmade paper, letterpress text, and debossed images by Heebner created specifically for the sonnets about Tibet and the Himalayas written by her daughter, Sienna Craig, an anthropologist and writer who lived in Nepal intermittently from 1993–2005. In 1996 Craig led Heebner and Everton up the deepest gorge on earth, the Kali Gandaki, to the walled Kingdom of Lo in Nepal’s Mustang district, on the border with Tibet. Inspired by the natural colors of the landscape they encountered there, Heebner created the sheets of paper that frame Craig’s loving sonnets about the region, and used those hues to create the larger series of paintings also on display.

Exhibition in Depth

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 the Fowler Museum from June 11 through September 10, 2006—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 create a loving and personal tribute to this sacred region.

About the Artists

Mary Heebner’s collages, paintings, works on paper, and artist’s books are exhibited throughout the US 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 husband, Kenneth Bauer, founded DROKPA, 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 Lightning: A Passage through Mustang was published in 2007.

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