• This photograph by architecture graduate student Wanda W. Lau is part of 'Snaps: Journey to South India,' an exhibition of photographs Lau took in the south Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in July 2005.

    This photograph by architecture graduate student Wanda W. Lau is part of 'Snaps: Journey to South India,' an exhibition of photographs Lau took in the south Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in July 2005.

    Photo / Wanda W. Lau

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  • 'Happy God/Garden Gargoyle' was carved by Paul Angiolillo from a limestone block salvaged at a building demolition at Princeton University. The sculpture is part of a collection on display at the Rotch Library of Planning and Architecture through the end of December.

    'Happy God/Garden Gargoyle' was carved by Paul Angiolillo from a limestone block salvaged at a building demolition at Princeton University. The sculpture is part of a collection on display at the Rotch Library of Planning and Architecture through the end of December.

    Photo / Paul Angiolillo

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Artwork on display at Rotch Library

This photograph by architecture graduate student Wanda W. Lau is part of 'Snaps: Journey to South India,' an exhibition of photographs Lau took in the south Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in July 2005.


Artwork by two members of the MIT community is currently on view at the Rotch Library of Architecture and Planning in Room 7-238.

Paul Angiolillo, a copy editor at Technology Review, created approximately 20 carvings and sculptures in wood, stone and mixed media, which are on view in the library's display cases.

Architecture graduate student Wanda W. Lau is exhibiting photographs she took in southern India.

Angiolillo said he's been a casual carver for decades, creating such utilitarian objects as spoons and furniture. Then, sometime around 1999, he began taking the craft more seriously, and he studied wood carving with sculptor Joe Wheelwright at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Mass., and stone carving with Peter Smith in Princeton, N.J.

His MIT exhibition includes representations of a torso, a pair of gloves, a spawning salmon, a giant acorn, and a head called "Minor Garden God." Some are in wood and some in stone. The largest is a 2-by-1-foot open book, which is also a bookstand.

"Hand-carving has an immediacy and intimacy that I find soothing, both to do and to look at -- especially today when most things are mass produced," said Angiolillo. At the same time, however, he acknowledges his own impatience sometimes leads him to use ready-made materials such as a broken plaster bowl and a pewter vase (both in works in the exhibit). "It takes a long time to hand-fashion something, and I sometimes get eager to express more ideas more quickly," he said.

Wanda Lau said she hopes her photographs will foster inspiration, appreciation and awareness about the lives of millions of people on the other side of the world. Taken during Lau's travels to the south Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in July 2005, the photos show a range of subjects, from the people to their local industries, culture and landscape.

"To the Indian resident, these photographs may be only a cursory study in the lives of few," she said. "To an outsider unfamiliar to the region, the photographs show a diversity and vibrancy that one may scarcely believe exists."

As an M.S. student in building technology, Lau traveled to South India to research masonry domes, her thesis topic. "Most people assume that as an engineer, I'm not artistic," she said, adding that in her experience most engineers are artists in some sense. "It's enjoyable to have a mixed bag of talents," she said.

Lau has been hooked on photography since taking a high school art class. But though she's cultivated her technique since then and has exhibited works while an undergraduate at Michigan State University, she confesses she was overwhelmed in South India. "It's one of the most photogenic places I have experienced," she said. "It almost feels futile because it is impossible to capture the beauty and vivacity on camera."

Both exhibitions will be on view through the end of December.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 7, 2005 (download PDF).


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