Orchis: An Orchid Inspires a Ballet
We are excited to be presenting this multi-discipline exhibition documenting the transformation of the orchid pictured above, into a live ballet performance
Watch a dead flower grow into a live ballet in this solo exhibition of work by photographer and Keeper of Light, A. Cemal Ekin. This exhibition brings together the original Orchid photographs with photographs and costume pieces from the ballet they inspired and includes video from the live ballet.
In the Beginning and the Story…
Some years back, I bought an orchid plant, Degarmoara Flying High Yellow Star. On a curving stem it sported 8-10 blossoms, each with five radiating petals and a large one that looked like an apron. Like many other orchid varieties, the blossoms lasted quite a while but eventually they started wilting. Losing the strength to stay on the branch, one by one, flowers fell on the table next to the pot.
I wanted to see how they would dry and left them the way they fell, some leaning on the saucer under the pot, others resting on a little fold of the tablecloth. As they dried, they started to take different forms, possibly affected by the terrain on which they were resting or the level of moisture around them. In a few days they were stiff enough to handle… When I looked at the dried Degarmoara blossoms I noticed that their forms conveyed energy and movement, as if they were dancing.
The colorful blossoms gradually turned translucent, like the skin of people as they age. They lost their color, started to show their veins, and eventually fell to dry into the forms they took. Dry and devoid of life, the blossoms gained a new sense of energy, a new form of life as they mimicked dancers captured in mid action.
This collection of photographs may be a metaphor of aging and eventual death, and how graceful and dignified it can be. It is also significant for having sparked the creation of art in movement, the ballet Orchis. Seeing the dancers move gracefully as the choreography echoes the photographs in the Orchis Collection is truly gratifying.
The Legend of Orchis
The ballet Orchis was born out of the dried petals of these orchid blossoms. The title comes from Greek mythology., the son of a nymph and a satyr, attends a party hosted by Bacchus and angers the host by assaulting the maidens. Bacchus tears him into pieces and blows them into the sky. Orchis’ father, distraught after his son’s demise, tries and succeeds to bring Orchis back to life as a small flower wherever the pieces of Orchis lands; thus, giving us the multitude of varieties in the species Orchidaceae.
– A. Cemal Ekin
About the Artist:
A. Cemal Ekin is a Rhode Island based educator, photographer and Professor Emeritus at Providence College. Additionally he has proved a valued resource and technical advisor in launching and keeping the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts Running smoothly.
I am a photographer, and prefer not to be pigeon-holed into a category based on some of my work. I have been to different places and documented the faces and places I have seen, photographed the objects that surrounded me. These do not make me a landscape or a documentary photographer, but just an interested photographer. I do not have formal training in photography or art, and am fully self-taught through practice, experimentation, failures, and lots of reading and looking at photographs. I enjoy reading about photography as much as practicing it. I also write about photography to sharpen my understanding of it. On my Web site you will find posts on various topics related to photography from tools and technique to the art of photography and criticism.
In a finished photograph, I try to present what I saw and felt rather than what the camera recorded. Some call this “manipulation” and I have written about the nonsensical nature of this argument since all photographs are manipulated, bar none. I want my prints to convey my creative vision, which the camera lacks, and my visual system which is orders of magnitude better than any camera can be today.
– A. Cemal Ekin
For more information and access to the original writings and photography, please visit Keptlight.com
Opening Reception: September 15th 5:00 – 8:00pm
On View: Thursday, September 15th, thru Friday, October 14th, 2022
Free and Open to the Public
Opening Reception: September 15th, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
The Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts, 118 N. Main St. Providence, RI
Orchis: An Orchid inspires a Ballet will be presented as a solo presentation in three parts, the Orchis photographs that provided the jumping off point paired with photographs from the resulting ballet and a selection of animations and video from the performance of the Orchis Ballet, performed by Festival Ballet at the Rhode Island Veterans Auditorium.
The Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts, RICPA
Located in the heart of Providence, RICPA was founded to inspire creative development and provide opportunities to engage with the community through exhibitions, education, publication, and mutual support.
RICPA exists to create a diverse and supportive community for individuals interested in learning or working in Photographic Arts. We strive to provide an environment conducive to the free exchange of ideas in an open and cooperative space. Members should share a passion for creating, appreciating, or learning about all forms of photo-based media. We work to provide a platform for artistic expression, that fosters dialogue and drives innovation in the photographic arts.
The Gallery at the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts is a member of Gallery Night Providence Gallery Night