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Great Dismal Swamp exhibition opens at TCC’s Visual Arts Center

The exhibition “Fire & Water: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp” will be held at Tidewater Community College’s Visual Arts Center from May 3 to June 19. The opening reception will be May 3 at 7 p.m. with an informal gallery talk preceding the event at 6:30 p.m.

All events are free and open to the public.

Virginia Beach artist Pam Ponce worked with staff from the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and the Youth Conservation Corps to provide documentation of the burn areas from the 2008 and 2011 wildfires. The exhibition will feature photographs, prints, sculptural elements and educational panels that combine art and science, reflecting the complexity and fragility of natural ecosystems.

Ponce created panoramic photographs that raise questions about human interference in natural cycles and depict the beauty in the darker side of nature. Some of her images are murky and desolate and conjure feelings of despair, while others show the beginning of regeneration and hope.

Several charred stumps forming a symbolic circle in the main gallery will appear to be walking on their exposed roots. Combined, the two- and three-dimensional works provide a strange and haunting feeling of the swamp in a newly created environment.

The Visual Arts Center is located at 340 High St., in Portsmouth. For information about the event, call Shelley Brooks at 757-822-1878.