'The Milwaukie Hidden' reveals visual treasures in show at City Hall
Hamid Shibata Bennett says that his photography exhibit at Milwaukie City Hall is a look at "all my memories, splattered on the wall."
The public is invited to meet Bennett and see the exhibit from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, at City Hall. His photographs are for sale and will be on display through the month of March.
All of the photos are digital — some were taken with an iPhone and others were taken with a Fujifilm digital camera, with "gorgeous color reproduction."
Bennett grew up in Gresham and moved to Milwaukie in 2012, and this exhibit charts his transition from one city to the other.
He said he chose "The Milwaukie Hidden" as the title for this show because it represents him pointing his lens "on the quiet marvels found everywhere," and using his camera to capture "those magical moments no one else is seeing. I keep my eyes open to beautiful things."
One of the most eyecatching photos is of a fiery sky, hemmed in on two sides by ominous purple clouds.
"I took this picture from the backyard of my childhood home in Gresham, just before a big storm with thunder and lightning. It is printed on canvas and people often think it's a painting," he said.
Since moving to Milwaukie, Bennett said he is continually inspired by the Willamette River.
"It is a vital artery and it's in our backyard; I've been there hundreds of time, waiting for the light to be just so," he said.
Photos in the show depict scenes along the Willamette, including geese in flight and the mirrorlike surface of the river on a foggy day.
Another inspiration is Elk Rock Island.
"There used to be a dance hall there and a lighthouse. I like to watch the shoreline change; the water is so essential and so powerful," Bennett said.
In addition to being a photographer, Bennett is a licensed massage therapist, who works at Earth Body Wellness Center at Southeast 38th Avenue and Belmont Street in Portland. He also is a recording artist and musician, playing acoustic and electric guitar, sitar, dramyen (a Tibetan lute) and long-neck dulcimer.
In addition, Bennett is the president and founder of Taking Care Cancer, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting cancer survivors.
In 1991, at age 18 years, Bennett was diagnosed with diffuse large-cell lymphoblastic cancer, a disease so rare that there were only nine other documented cases at that time.
"I'm the only one who survived for more than 72 months," he said, adding that during those years, not many organizations existed to support people with cancer.
That was his motivation in founding Taking Care Cancer. Since 2012 it has been bringing together a community of massage therapists, nutritionists, musicians and others to work with people with cancer and cancer survivors, as well as their friends, family and caregivers.
"It all has to do with community and listening to everyone's stories," Bennett said.
Closer to home, Bennett is the secretary of artMOB, the Milwaukie Arts Committee; artMOB stands for Art - Milwaukie on Board.
"Last year I started asking around about places to show photographs and I was pointed toward an arts committee meeting," he said. When there was a vacancy on the artMOB board, Bennett was asked to fill it.
He added, "I'm feeling so much love and support from the community."
'The Milwaukie Hidden'
See the photography of Hamid Shibata Bennett, now on exhibit through March at Milwaukie City Hall, 10722 S.E. Main St.
artMOB, the Milwaukie Arts Committee, will host a special artist reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, at City Hall, otherwise the community is welcome to view the photographs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
All works are for sale and can be purchased through City Hall staff.
For more information about the City Hall gallery, visit milwaukieoregon.gov.
To learn more about artMOB, visit facebook.com/artMOBMilwaukie.
To see more of Bennett's work, visit www.pictaram.com/user/thecultivatedawesome/2206583795.
Visit compassionartspdx.com/taking-care-portland.html or takingcarecancer.org to learn more about Taking Care Cancer.
The Earth Body Wellness Center is located at 3810 S.E. Belmont St., in Portland. Call 971-645-3833 for more information.