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Ancient Temples ~ Current Conflicts

Exhibited Los Angeles May 2014

Over the last fifteen years we have explored and photographed the landscape, religious cultures' and peoples of the Himalayan Mountain Kingdoms, and Southern Asia. They are all vibrant and distinctive, yet the region's art, architecture, and traditions share much in common, due to the extraordinary influence of sacred beliefs that spread across this arc of Asia centuries ago. My collection of images are poignant and uniquely presented and will hopefully stir your thought and aesthetic. While you are a part of the web-site/gallery space and absorbing the images, keep in mind all of these sacred areas, other than Bhutan, are now in conflict or have been in the very recent past. History is replete with war, genocide, and hatred: the absence of peace. A continuum of effort to create global peace is constant, but the goal has yet to be achieved, even in this region of extraordinary sacred and spiritual thought. It is our good fortune to be able call America "home".

The Tourism Council of Bhutan invited Barry to photograph their country in December 2015. The goal was to not only capture their beautiful mountains, valleys, and urban areas, but also to create imagery demonstrating the principles behind Gross National Happiness–the emphasis of selfless service to others and the search for enlightenment–a core value of this unique Buddhist kingdom. Beneath the surface of Bhutan is a rich and diverse community of yak herders, nomadic and ancient village dwellers, as well as a complex royal and democratic government hierarchy, all overseen by scholars, gurus, rimpoches, high lamas and the most environmentally-conscious leadership in the world.

The project has transitioned to Shaffer presenting his first major fine-art publication, "Echoes of Bhutan". Published in Verona, Italy by IBS Editoriale Bortolazzi Stei, Designed by David Chickey and in cooperation with Radius Books, Santa Fe NM. It's official release was at the 2017 Telluride Mountain Film Festival; followed by book signing events at Los Angeles' Hennessey + Ingalls on June 17; and Arcana Books on June 24; followed by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art September 7, 2017; the Tibert House NYC October 20, 2017; and at the 2017 International Mountain Echoes Literary Festival in Thiempu, Bhutan.

Echoes of Bhutan is found in the following colleections:

  • The American Alpine Club, Golden, CO
  • Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA
  • Bowers Museum, Santa Anna, CA
  • USC Pacific Asia Museum, Los Angeles, CA
  • Bhutan Foundation, Permanent Mission Of Bhutan, New York, NY
  • Gross National Happiness, USA
  • Access Fund, Boulder, CO
  • Tibet House, NYC
  • DZI Foundation, Ridgway, CO
  • Global Dental Relief, Denver, CO
Hsinbyume Pagoda, Myanmar
Angor Wat, Cambodia
Sadhu Kathmandu, Nepal
Valley of Bagan, Myanmar

There is a story, believed to be of Cherokee origin, in which a girl is troubled by a recurring dream in which two wolves fight viciously. Seeking an explanation, she goes to her grandfather, highly regarded for his wisdom, who explains that there are two forces within each of us, struggling for supremacy, one embodying peace and the other war. At this, the girl is even more distressed, and asks her grandfather who wins. His answer; "The one you feed."