College of the Atlantic will host an opening reception for photographer Clare Stone’s “The Wonders of Tribal Ethiopia” at the Ethel H. Blum Gallery July 13. PHOTO COURTESY OF COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC

Ethiopian life is exhibit focus

BAR HARBOR — “The Wonders of Tribal Ethiopia: Photographs from the Omo Valley,” new work by photographer and art collector Clare Stone depicting life in one of the world’s last great tribal areas, will be on display in College of the Atlantic’s Ethel H. Blum Gallery from mid-July through August. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, July 13, at 5 p.m.

Stone traveled to Ethiopia in 2015 with a small group led by photographer John Rizzo. While there, she met with and photographed seven different tribes from the Omo Valley. While environmental conditions were difficult to navigate, Stone said that language barriers presented and even bigger impediment to her work.

“Taking photographs in extreme heat and strong sunlight was often something I had to deal with, but placing my subjects so that I could create a portrait without using words to communicate was my biggest challenge,” she said. “I hope that the people who come to see my show will discover a tribal Ethiopia that they have never seen.”

The Omo Valley, located in Africa’s Great Rift Valley, has a cultural heritage untouched by globalization until very recently. The area is inhabited by many distinct ethnic groups.

Stone, born in Greenwich, Conn., completed a bachelor’s degree at SUNY Purchase and studied photography at Manhattanville College. Married to art collector Allan Stone, Clare Stone was exposed to much great art through her husband’s Manhattan art gallery, Allan Stone Projects. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, she had several shows in Northeast Harbor at the John Beuke Gallery, and at the Seal Harbor Library, where she showed a series of portraits of people and their dogs. In 2010, Stone had a show at COA’s Blum Gallery called “Turkish Delights,” based on a trip to Istanbul.

In 2009, COA established the Allan Stone Chair in Visual Arts. The position is currently held by Catherine Clinger.

COA will host “An Evening with Clare Stone” on Wednesday, Aug. 16, at 5 p.m., in the Thomas S. Gates Community Center. Stone will discuss her work with COA Director of Creative Services Rebecca Hope Woods. The event is free and open to the public.

College of the Atlantic’s annual summer event series, including Coffee and Conversations, evening lectures and the inaugural weeklong Champlain Institute, focuses on the importance of the humanities this year with a program of free presentations, conversations and art from July through August. The series brings artists, scholars, authors and leading executives to the college’s seaside campus for explorations of religious diversity, literature, conservation, history and more.

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