DAYTONA BEACH, FL.- The Southeast Museum of Photography
in Daytona Beach, Florida, has opened a new exhibition, Elaine Ling, Africa and Florida on view through December 16th, 2010. Thought-provoking and timely, it consists of two series of black and white large format photographs that speak to the balance of nature and man made constructions. Baobab: Tree of Generations, 2008 and Florida Contact, 2002, are joined together in this exhibition of opposites. Lings photographs grasp the viewer by the hand and create a journey through two conflicting worlds, while highlighting a common theme of the resilience of life. The pairing of these two series creates an elegant exhibition.
The Baobab Tree
Growing to be over 80 feet tall with a trunk as wide as a small car, the Baobab tree is one of the largest living things in the world. Baobab trees have been made into bars, homes, and even bathrooms. Found in the destitute grounds of the African desert, Madagascar, and parts of Australia this magical tree is leafless for 9 months out of the year, or the dry season, causing it to look as though its' roots were in the air. During the remaining 3 months, the wet season, the Baobab stores rainwater within its fire resistant, cork like walls and grows luscious leaves. Though this majestic tree grows in the desert of Africa, it lives for over 2,000 years providing for its inhabitants. The Baobab is a resilient tree, built to withstand the hardships of nature and to protect the needy.
Legend Rooted in Fact
The Baobab Tree is as intertwined with the African legend as the tree's untamed branches. Some African legends refer to the tree as magical. One popular myth claims that if a person drinks the water in which the seeds of the tree have soaked, he or she will be safe from a crocodile attack. It is because of the Baobab tree's ability to provide for humans and animals alike, shelter, food and water, that it is known as the tree of life. With its massive trunk as protection, its healing, fruit and the ability to store thousands of gallons of water within its walls, the Baobab tree helps makes life sustainable in the harsh African desert.
Fusion of Opposites
Elaine Ling draws her passion for Baobab from the illusive symbolism of this glorious tree. Using large format photography, Ling portrays it as a community in itself, a fixture in the desert and a source of support for the surrounding area. To create these images she searched the nearby community to find the perfect human partner for each Baobab. The resulting pictures illustrate the relationship between the two. In them, the roots of humanity and nature are organically intertwined, rare moments carefully recorded. Shown in alliance with the Baobab-Tree of Generations, 2008 series is Lings exhibit Florida Contact, 2002, demonstrating the decay of two completely different worlds and their ability to defy such destruction.
Elaine Ling is an adventurer, traveler, and photographer who is most at home backpacking her view camera across the great deserts of the world and sleeping under the stars. Born in Hong Kong, she has lived in Canada since the age of nine. Venturing first into the land of the Anazasi, in the American Southwest, she continued across four continents, to explore and photograph the deserts of Mongolia, Namibia, North Africa, India, and South America, Australia.
Since receiving her medical degree from the University of Toronto, she has practiced family medicine among various First Nations peoples in Canadas North and Pacific Northwest as well as on the other side of the world, in Abu Dhabi and Nepal.