Exhibition offers ‘Images of Kenya’

Natalie Pillsbury

Kenneth Cushner, executive director of international affairs, is displaying his work on the third floor of the library. His favorite of all the photographs was the one of the elephants sleeping.

Credit: Beth Rankin

The exotic photographs displayed in “Images of Kenya” look like they could be out of the pages of National Geographic.

“This is the first international photo exhibit we’ve had,” said Diana Sperko, manager of Copy and Design Services in the library. “Images of Kenya” is an exhibition by Kenneth Cushner, executive director of International Affairs.

“It’s interesting because it’s a combination of people, landscape and animals,” Sperko said.

However, the exhibition that opened Friday has a more intimate feel than a photo spread in a magazine. The photographs represent the work Cushner and faculty from the College and Graduate School of Education are doing to benefit the people of Kenya.

“Images of Kenya” will be on display for a month in the Copy and Design Services lobby on the third floor of the library.

The photographs in Cushner’s exhibit were taken during three years and document his experiences with the Kenyan people and landscape.

A particular section of the exhibit is dedicated to elephants — elephant conservation was part of Cushner’s effort in Kenya.

“I happened to see elephants fall asleep for the first time,” Cushner said. “They stood in clusters, and as they slept, the babies would just fall over.”

Photographs of children also highlighted the exhibit. Faculty from the College and Graduate School of Education have developed relationships with six schools in five communities within the Tsavo region of Kenya.

Cushner, who has been to Kenya five or six times, said he and his colleagues are putting together a curriculum about the Taita people’s culture for both American and Kenyan students.

Such curriculum materials did not exist before, according to Cushner.

The landscape photos feature the Tsavo-Kasigau Wildlife Corridor, which is a route across the Taru Desert for animals such as elephants and lions.

Cushner, whose office is right around the corner from the Copy Center, said he approached Sperko about displaying his photos after he saw other exhibits in the lobby.

Contact libraries and information reporter Natalie Pillsbury at [email protected].