Photographer Janice Levy to Present Slide Lecture On An Exotic "Troubled Paradise" -- Madagascar

Release Date: February 10, 1999 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Madagascar is Janice Levy's Bali H'ai -- a remote and exotic island off Africa's southeastern coast with a landscape of extraordinary beauty and a population known for its warmth and openness.

"I was enthralled," says the photographer and writer of her first visit in 1992 to what she refers to as a "troubled paradise." She since has traveled extensively in that island nation, photographing her impressions of its land, culture and people.

Levy will present a slide lecture of her stunning photographic series, "The Face of Madagascar," at 2 p.m. Feb. 23 in the Art Department Gallery, B45 Center for the Arts on the University at Buffalo North (Amherst) Campus.

The talk will be free and open to the public.

Levy chairs the Department of Cinema and Photography in the Roy H. Park School of Photography at Ithaca College and has been a visiting lecturer or instructor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of Michigan School of Art and the University of Madagascar at Antananarivo.

Her Malagasy photographs were exhibited in 1997 in Buffalo's CEPA Gallery, accompanied by Malagasy proverbs, which, in that country's oral tradition, weave together colorful stories of its tribal past.

"For the Malagasy, proverbs are a form of poetry and literature," Levy writes. "Through the use of this style of metaphor, they address ideas about all aspects of life.

"To choose the appropriate proverb for a particular situation is an indication of great wisdom," she explains. "The ability to construct a speech using proverbs is a skill that is much admired and respected.

"So important is this skill," she continues, "that when a young man wishes to ask for a woman's hand in marriage, he will prepare a proverb-laden appeal to the woman's family.

"If he demonstrates wisdom through an illustrious command of the poetic language and rich tradition of the Malagasy proverb, he is more likely to win the hand of the woman."

Her award-winning work has taken her to Cuba (for a "misadventure") and to many regions of the United States. From these experiences, she has produced photographic series, documentary video productions, and works of photography and text. She has exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions and is a highly regarded commercial photographer.

Some of these projects reflect her concern for Third World health-care issues and she has devoted time and service to hands-on primary health-care projects in the developing world, notably in Madagascar and in Mexico for Project Concern, where she taught laboratory analysis to primary health-care promoters working in Guatemalan refugee camps.

As a photographer, she has worked as an instructor and program consultant for the American Culture Center in Antananarivo, Madagascar; the Kellogg Foundation, and Operation Crossroads Africa.

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