A high altitude artistic partnership will compliment a conference dedicated to exploring the ecological and cultural significance of mountains.
Local photographer Viet Tieu will collaborate with the Jasper Artists Guild (JAG) to produce Edith to Everest, an exhibition to display at the University of Alberta’s Thinking Mountains, a unique event being held at the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre May 5-8.
Tieu, who visited Nepal in November, will showcase his photos alongside a collection of works from JAG artists. The combined images will bridge the differences, and similarities, between Himalayan and Rocky Mountain culture, said curator Greg Deagle.
“We wanted the JAG component to reflect the high altitude, rugged aspects of the mountain environment,” Deagle said.
Thinking Mountains is a conference which aims to promote dialogue about how mountains are understood physically, as ecosystems, in human history, and as part of world cultures. Pegged as an interdisciplinary mountain studies conference, the four-day event will feature lectures and discussions adventurers, artists, writers, scientists, thinkers and historians. Author and mountaineer Chic Scott, John Geiger, CEO of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, climber and writer Pat Deavoll and Katie Ives, editor in chief of Alpinist Magazine are among some of the featured guests. Other notable contributors with Jasper connections include author Thomas Wharton, Ojibway Elder Jim O’Chiese, Jasper National Park Resource Conservation Manager John Wilmshurst and local Parks Canada biologists Greg Horne and Sakkje Hazenberg.
With Edith to Everest, Deagle and Tieu are taking into account their respected audience.
“These are people whose lives are dedicated to mountainous places,” Deagle said. “They’re motivated by more serious representations of mountains versus souvenirs or postcards.”
Much of Tieu’s photography is serious in its lightness. His portraits capture the free spirit in his subjects while acknowledging the fundamental hardships of living in a small community carved into an inhospitable rock.
“I saw these communities as authentic,” Tieu said. “It’s a simple way of life.”
Members of the public can view Edith to Everest in conference room four at the Sawridge Inn. Note that Thinking Mountains is only open to conference registrants.