GPP Talks with Lisa Ross | Living Shrines

On exhibit from May 13th to Sep 2nd, Living Shrines is a series of ethereal photographs that take us on a journey through the Xinjiang region of China, where Lisa Ross has spent over a decade documenting Islamic holy shrines created by the Uyghur community in China.  

Lisa Ross is a New York based photographer, video artist and educator who, in conversation with GPP Managing Director Lola Boatwright, will discuss her series Living Shrines and its place within her wider oeuvre.  The talk will take place in the gallery space where Ross's work will be on exhibit, join us at 8:30 for refreshments before the talk.

About Lisa Ross 


Ross’s work revolves around the liminal spaces in which faith, culture and abstraction meet. Her immersive landscapes and early black and white work, explore the skin of the land. In doing so, she reveals the texture of culture, and, in time, the political realities inextricably bound to place that emerge.

Meanwhile, her portrait work has sought to capture intimacy, and touches on issues of identity, gender and belonging.


Ross also investigates physical manifestations of faith, with journeys to the Sahara and Sinai leading to an ongoing body of work exploring pilgrimage. In recent work, Ross made repeated visits in and around the Taklamakan Desert—visiting sites of Uyghur shrines. These hand-made markers of faith leave an indelible mark on the landscape—touching on cycles of life and death, pilgrimage and sainthood. They are an affirmation of existence, a collective experience that is overpowering in its very humility.


The resulting large-scale photo and video works have been exhibited internationally, and refer to the site-specific traditions of land artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, evoking the existence and awe-inspiring power of landscape. The series culminated in the book Living Shrines of Uyghur China, published by The Monacelli Press and distributed internationally by Random House.


Ross has had exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe. Her work has been shown at the University of California at Berkeley; Rencontres D’Arles Foto Festival, France; the Rubin Museum of Art, New York; Fotografiska Museum, Stockholm, Sweden; University of London, SOAS, Brunei Gallery; and La Vielle Charite, Marseilles, France and Harvard University. Most recently, Robert Wilson’s Watermill Foundation awarded Ross a residency, to be completed in 2016.


Ross has worked in North Africa, Central Asia, China, Europe and Azerbaijan. She received an MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College. Ross is a fellow of the Bronx Museum’s Artist in the Marketplace program; a two time recipient of the Hayward Prize through the American Austrian Foundation; made a commissioned work in Azerbaijan for CICRP/French Ministry of Culture for Marseilles 2013. She has taught at Parsons School of Design, Columbia University and The Harvey Milk School.


Ross’s work received reviews in The New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Artforum, The Wall Street Journal and many other print and online journals. Her book has received enthusiastic responses in The New York Review of Books, The Los Angeles Review of Books and London Review of Books.