Thursday, October 12, 1995

Ellen Bruno

Portraits from the Edge

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

San Franciscan Ellen Bruno’s portraits of people from different cultures share a rare blend of astute observation, poetic feel for detail, and passionate involvement with her subjects. Samsara (1990) and Satya (1994) portray peoples of Asia and their shattered lives as refugees. While Samsara uses ancient prophecy, Buddhist teachings, folklore and dreams to understand the world view of Cambodians and the philosophies that guide their lives, Satya is a haunting portrayal of the struggle by Tibetan nuns against the religious oppression and cultural genocide practiced by the Chinese government in Tibet. Bruno’s newest work, Blessed (1995), is an inter-racial love story—a portrait of a couple living on the edge in the Tenderloin, musing on the ghosts of the past.