ARKADELPHIA — Ouachita Baptist University’s Rosemary Adams Department of Visual Arts and Rogers Department of Communications are co-hosting the exhibit “More Than History, More Than Land,” photographed by Chris Ocken, through Friday, Dec. 6, in the Hammons Gallery located in Mabee Fine Arts Center. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
Visiting Israel nine times, Ocken – a 1994 Ouachita graduate – came to appreciate the richness and complexity of the land, which is holy to Christians, Jews and Muslims alike. Through his photography, Ocken displays Israel as a vibrant, modern community and home to people of many faiths, worldviews and backgrounds.
“Visitors will appreciate the feeling of moving through the cities and landscapes pictured in Chris’ photography,” said Donnie Copeland, associate professor and chair of the Adams Department of Visual Arts. “The pictures offer a glimpse of the different cultures of the region, their nearness to each other and their separateness.”
The multimedia portion of his exhibit is produced by Nick Burt, a 2015 Ouachita graduate, and Kevin Barnard, a 2018 Ouachita graduate, both of whom have traveled to Israel with Ocken.
“It’s always gratifying to see alumni who take their skills to new heights as the years go by,” said Dr. Jeff Root, dean of Ouachita’s School of Humanities and Huckabee School of Education and professor of communications. “Chris Ocken is a tremendously talented photographer who served as our photo editor while a Ouachita student. Chris has an eye for composition, as evidenced by this exhibit. His photos tell stories and demand attention.”
Ocken has photographed around the world including Canada, the Dominican Republic, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Vietnam, as well as almost every state in the United States. His photographs have appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek magazine, The Times of London and Chicago Tribune. He currently lives and works in Chicago.
“Traveling to other countries, seeing first-hand the different cultures all over our world, is to me the most interesting thing a person can do,” Ocken said. “Even staying in mostly Israeli-controlled areas, I got to see a lot of the different cultures and lifestyles that make up Israel. And I could feel the texture and tension their close proximity creates. Yet, as I struggled for perspective on their conflicts and struggles, I also saw the best in people.
“As you look at these photographs, I hope you’ll do what I have done during my many visits to Israel: Open your eyes, ears and hearts to truly take in the land and the people,” Ocken added. “This is what helped me see God at work in this place, in all its people and throughout its history.”
Ocken is an award-winning international photographer who won a Pulitzer Prize while working with the Associated Press to cover the 1992 presidential campaign. He has gone on to win several other national awards, and he holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.
The Hammons Gallery hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays, and admission is free. For more information, contact Donnie Copeland at email@example.com or (501) 245-5559.
Written by Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.