FACES OF AFRICA, exhibit and workshop, opens

Saturday, June 20 in the Olean Meditation Center

The Olean Meditation Center will present FACES OF AFRICA a photography workshop and exhibit of photos taken by Dr. Charles Walker on a recent trip to South Africa from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m., Saturday, June 20 at the Center, 2275 Dugan Rd., Olean.

FACES OF AFRICA, is the first in the nine-part arts series Soulful Expressions beginning in June and running through May 2021 at the Center, 2275 Dugan Rd., Olean, NY.  All performances are free of charge and appropriate for all audiences and children.

Dr. Walker’s masterful composition and compelling images in his FACES OF AFRICA exhibit inspire profound respect and appreciation of the natural beauty and vibrant soul of the African continent.

He is a Professor Emeritus of Psychology at St. Bonaventure University.  After winning third place in a New York Times photo competition in 1970, his photography advanced in both depth and technique. His careful balancing of light and shadow within a creative composition offers a unique experience of heuristic transcendence.

Dr. Walker has exhibited in local galleries including the Image City Gallery in Rochester and is currently the president of the Twin Tier Camera Club.

About the workshop and exhibit, Dr. Walker writes: “Photography is phenomenological. It is personal and revealing.  When you share a photo of a lovely waterlily you are also sharing your sense of beauty.  Your portraits of friends say something about your respect for others and your relationship with them. When you share photographs of birds and animals, you reveal your connection with other living beings and the compassion you feel for them.

“This workshop will be as much about personal insight and revelation as it will be about camera techniques and artistic composition.

There is no better place to learn these things than in Africa.”


Soulful Expressions is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by Tri-County Arts Council which reaches Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties.

Soulful Expressions highlights the intersection of mindfulness, creativity, and cultural forms of the human spirit,” Richard Reilly, president of the Olean Meditation Center, said.

“All performances are offered free of charge to allow everyone an opportunity to experience these great artists which for some may otherwise have been inaccessible,” he added.

     Soulful Expressions’ art, music, theater, dance, and photography offer a culturally and globally diverse collaborative to bring an invaluable and enriching cultural presence to Olean.

     The series includes an artistic and literary exposition on Guatemalan art which reflects the long and painful history of the Mayan people,  African mask-making, Drum and Chant interactive event, an evening of jazz by Night Fragrance, a theatrical reading by the author of Salvation Show, a book about growing up Black in the pre-Civil Rights South; a weekend of Sufi Whirling and Meditative Dance, another weekend of classical and modern Hindu Indian dance, a photography exhibit and workshop featuring the intense beauty of Africa; and a presentation of (and about) the documentary, “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” which is about the 39,000 year-old cave paintings in the Chauvet Caves of France.

While these programs are made possible through a generous grant administered by the Tri-County Arts Council that covers 75 percent of the series costs, the remaining 25 percent of the funding is from compassionate Olean Meditation Center friends who made generous donations on Giving Tuesday to allow community members to attend all Soulful Expressions programs without charge.

For further information, call the Olean Meditation Center at 716-375-5550 or email oleanmeditation@gmail.com.