Phil Borges, “Bridges to Understanding”
April 24 – October 24, 2004

The Bowers Museum
2002 N. Main St. Santa Ana, CA 92706
Contact: Rick Weinberg, Director of Public Relations & Marketing
Tel: 714-567-3642 / Cell 714-552-2842 / Fax: 714-567-3633
E-mail: <>
Web site: <>

Phil Borges, “Abi Gul, 7, Rumbur Valley, Pakistan”
Abi Gul’s father spent eleven years fighting in the Pakistan courts to keep the Kalash valleys from being logged. For the Kalash, who have an animist cosmology, trees are very sacred. Three years ago Abi Gul’s father was killed by a bomb that was thrown into their little two room home. Her uncle continued the court case and finally won the judgment. Abi Gul was very serious and quiet. Very diligent, she stayed by my side and assisted me as I photographed her friends and relatives in her small village.

The Bowers Museum to Open New Exhibit That ‘Bridges’ World Cultures

Rich and exquisite images from award-winning photographer Phil Borges depict people of vanishing cultures and promotes education of world traditions in “Bridges to Understanding,” a multi-tiered exhibit that will feature computer stations connecting young people of diverse cultures from around the world.

(SANTA ANA, CALIF.) – Opulently detailed photographs created with the idea of celebrating cultural understanding among the people and children of the world have been melded together at The Bowers Museum in a compelling exhibition of a genre that incorporates modern technology.

Bridges to Understanding, which opens April 24 at The Bowers Museum and remains on view through October 24, 2004, explores and celebrates the exquisitely meticulous work of award-winning and world-renowned photographer, Phil Borges. For more than 25 years, Borges has been taking breathtaking and stunning black and white photos of people and their cultures in remote and ancient villages that today are still concealed from the world’s view.

Thirty-nine of Borges’ most vibrant and heartwarming photographs will be displayed at The Bowers Museum, along with two video presentations featuring the people and children of rural global communities threatened by Westernization. There will also be computer stations for children to communicate with other children from around the world and learn about their cultures. Children from Santa Ana to Sherman Oaks will be able to communicate with children in Northern India, Peru, Africa and tiny Alaskan villages near the Arctic Circle, and be able to compare and learn about their cultures and lifestyles.

“We are thrilled to offer this amazing exhibit,” says Peter Keller, Ph.D., the president of The Bowers Museum. “Phil Borges is one of the leading black and white photographers in the world today. The quality of his work is enhanced further by the subject matter of the exhibit: vanishing cultures of the world. These cultures are in danger of being absorbed into the modern world. Through Bridges to Understanding, people and children will be able to learn and understanding more about these cultures before they vanish.”

In Bridges to Understanding at The Bowers Museum, young children who want to learn about ice fishing in Alaska will be able to see a tiny Alaskan Gwich'in community use ancient methods of fishing in a multimedia presentation created by the Gwich'in children that can seen on the Bridges' web site <>. Alaskan children will also be able to get a first hand look at their counterparts' cultures and traditions.

Borges’ awe-inspiring images are recognized worldwide because of the manner in which he shoots, and his development process. He shoots only black and white film and pays close attention to lighting. In the development process, he masks the natural background and applies a special toner treatment that results in the images projecting lifelike radiance. It is Borges’ ability to tap deeply into his subjects’ human spirit and convey their warmth and compassion from natural and spectacular landscape that has transformed him into one of the world’s most famous photographers.

“Phil has an extraordinary ability to capture the innocence and heartfelt expressions of the people in his worldly images, all in a nature setting that brings the image to life,” says Paul Johnson, Director of Exhibit Design at The Bowers Museum. Johnson and his staff will “backlight” Borges’ images in the 2,500 square foot exhibit area to create a dramatic, compelling effect.

For many years, while Borges was taking photos of the indigenous people of the world, his dream was to connect young people of diverse cultures in a manner that goes beyond photographs and books. He realized his dream with his creation of Bridges, a project that is intended to electronically link children from around the world through computers and imagery.

Borges’ photographs have been exhibited throughout the world, including New York, Los Angeles, London, Italy, Argentina, Washington, D.C., Grand Cayman Islands, Luxembourg, Canada and Helsinki, Finland. Borges' travels have taken him to Tibet, South America, Africa and above the Arctic circle. His photography has led to work with the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Amnesty International and The White House. He authored an award-winning book, Tibetan Portrait: The Power of Compassion, as well as Enduing Spirit and Gift.

Admission to Bridges to Understanding at The Bowers Museum is $14 for adults, $8 seniors (62+) and students, $6 children age 5-11, and free for children under 5. The Bowers Museum is also featuring Tibet: Treasures from the Roof of the World, one of the most historic exhibits to ever come to the United States, as well as four permanent exhibits, including Vision of the Shaman and California: The Golden Years.

The Bowers Museum is located at 2002 N. Main St. in historic Santa Ana (5 Fwy @ Main St., 10 mi. south of Disneyland). For more information, call 714.567.3600 or go to <> . The Bowers Museum also features world class dining and shopping with its restaurant, Tangata, and its two unique gallery stores.

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