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15th April 2002
'Tibetan lives' by local photographer
Girl of 'The Solitudes'
DROKPA People of The Solitudes
Diane Barker a photographer from Worcestershire tells us about the inner wealth, beauty and dignity of the people she photographed when she stayed with two Nomad families in Tibet.
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FACTS

Diane Barker's exhibition 'FREE SPIRITS: Tibet in Exile' has toured to over 14 venues in the Uk and twice in Bombay, India

Diane's "Tibet Images" have found their way into books, magazines, and newspapers as well as being used by charities and campaigning organisations

Diane has travelled extensively - India, Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet, China, Australia and America

Her next local exhibition will be at Kidderminster library gallery in December
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Diane Barker a photographer from Worcestershire, tells BBC Hereford and Worcester Rachel Willis about her work.

"I began my creative life as a painter, producing small, very internal, mystical water-colours combined with my own poetry. I had my first solo exhibition in London in 1986, and astonishingly it was a sell-out! I returned to my home village of Alfrick in 1987 and was subsequently inspired by the beauty of the local landscape, particularly the Knapp nature reserve in Alfrick and Moccas Park in Herefordshire, which informed my subject matter for a number of years."

quote My advice to local artists and photographers is to follow your heart, rather than your egoquote
Diane Barker

"In the early 1990s I was introduced to Tibetan refugee communities in India and Nepal, and specifically to the remarkable central figure of the exile community, H.H. the Dalai Lama. That began a love affair and obsession with the Tibetans and their rich and magical Buddhist-centred culture which I have persued via the medium of photography."

"After a while the photography took over from painting, and through the specialist photo Library "Tibet Images" my photos found their way into books, magazines, newspapers etc as well as being used by charities and campaigning organisations. With the help of an Arts Council Lottery grant I was able to create an exhibition of photographs celebrating Tibetan refugee culture "FREE SPIRITS: Tibet in Exile" which premiered at Combe Lodge Studio Gallery in Malvern in 1987. It does seem to have been a successful exhibition as it has toured to at least 14 venues in the U.K as well as showing twice in Bombay in India. At the Midlands Arts Center in Birmingham I was told that "FREE SPIRITS" had generated more positive audience feedback than any other exhibition shown there since the center opened in the 1970s."

Tibetan man
TIBETAN LIVES by Diane Barker
"In 2000, with the help of generous funding and moral support from the Elmley Foundation, Worcester City Art Gallery, visionary local sponsors and private individuals, I started a new project photographing Tibetan nomads in eastern Tibet. On two separate trips to Tibet I was privileged to stay with and photograph the lives of two nomad families, one of whom I found via the internet! They are truly remarkable people wildly earthy, joyous, open hearted and unspoiled. They gave me a great deal and I feel there is much to learn from them. I hope my pictures of them touch peoples hearts and inspire a new respect for these people and their unique and threatened holistic way of life."

"The new exhibition on the nomads, called "DROKPA: people of the Solitudes", premiered at Worcester City Art Gallery last winter and will be touring the UK for some time to come we hope. Locally it will show at Kidderminster Library Gallery this December."

Tibetan women
TIBETAN LIVES by Diane Barker

"For me the success of my work is related to how much I can capture the inner wealth, beauty and dignity of the people I photograph and then to touch people’s hearts with the results. I try to get out of the way of my work as much as I can and let the soul of the subject shine through. Ultimately for me creative work is a celebration and a meditation."

"At present I’m working on a small book of photos and text about Tibetan Prayer Flags for a British book packaging company in London. With luck it will appear in time for Christmas, each book accompanied by a set of prayer flags! I’m also working on a photo feature about Tibetan nomads for "Caduceus" Magazine, and a photo essay of my work is due to appear in the May/June issue of "Resurgence" Magazine."

"I continue to be inspired by the nomads of Tibet and hope eventually to produce a photo book celebrating their lifestyle. I envisage many more trips to eastern Tibet!"

"My advice to local artists and photographers is to follow your heart, rather than your ego, in your work – if you really believe in what you do its miraculous how help and support can come. Its important to trust that what truly inspires you is right for you, and not to be swayed by fickle visual art fashions or the expectations and demands of others."
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