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2006.08.29> For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Fitzgerald - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.3536 - e-mail: tfitzgerald@mail.unomaha.edu

UNO Gallery Season to Open Sept. 8 with Photography Exhibition

Omaha - Since the 1980s, an estimated 150 to 200 million people have migrated from China’s rural areas to its major urban centers in search of work, economic freedom and material prosperity.

A compelling photography exhibition by Peter Szto that documents this mass movement of people will open the 2006-07 art gallery season at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). “The Floating Population in Guangzhou, China: A Visual Study” will run Sept. 8 through Oct. 16 in the UNO Art Gallery. An opening reception – including a performance of traditional Chinese music – is set for Friday, Sept. 8, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Szto, coordinator of the bachelor of science in social work program in the UNO School of Social Work, was born and raised in New York City. At an early age, the plight of the city’s dispossessed and downtrodden impressed upon him the need to help. His current research involves documentary photography to study social welfare problems in China.

In the summer of 2005, Szto conducted a visual study of this floating population on the streets of Guangzhou, formerly Canton. The term “floating population” reflects their illegal residency status.

Szto’s work, captured in a series of 20 images, depicts a visual typology of what the floating population looks like, where they live and what strategies they rely on to survive. The presentation philosophy, which contrasts with the “mount, matte and frame” format consistent with gallery showings of photography, is intended to foster the educational spirit of the exhibition. Each of the images is mounted on blocks of wood two inches thick to promote interaction between image and viewer.

“I hope my photographs motivate people to want to help, as they moved me to want to tell their story,” Szto said.

Szto also hopes educators will use the exhibition as the impetus for meaningful dialogue on the issues it addresses. Instructors and community groups are encouraged to use the gallery space for these discussions.

“The Floating Population in Guangzhou, China: A Visual Study” is made possible, in part, by support from the Nebraska Arts Council and the following UNO units: College of Public Affairs and Community Service, School of Social Work, International Studies and Programs, Black Studies, Cultural Awareness Programs, Foreign Languages and Sociology.

The UNO Art Gallery is located on the first floor of the Weber Fine Arts Building on the west end of the UNO campus. Admission is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from noon to 4 p.m.; Thursday from noon to 8 p.m.; and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m.

For more information, call (402) 554-2796, or visit the Web at http://www.unoartgallery.org.

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