G Fine Art Gallery Info Selected Archives Artists

Chan T. Chao | Six Years and Eight Months

April 18 - May 23, 2009


press release:

Opening Reception: April 18, 6:30 - 8:30pm

In his first solo show with G Fine Art Chan Chao presents the new series Six Years and Eight Months. His portraits of the women of Santa Monica, a low-security prison in Lima, Peru were featured in the group show Portraits at G Fine Art in 2008. Now, in 2009 Chao presents a more complete set of portraits from the series.

Santa Monica holds corrupt government officials, murderers, drug traffickers and thieves. Of the 1,125 inmates at Santa Monica, 198 are foreigners. All the foreign inmates were caught at the airport, trying to smuggle cocaine out of Peru. Six years and eight months is the standard sentence for drug trafficking and is the working title of the project. Chao describes the project as a collective expression of a group of women who share the same predicament, “Santa Monica is not so much a prison project, but rather a starting point - a subtext and intellectual component for a humanistic portrait project.” 

Because these women are not required to wear uniforms and the common areas don’t reflect a typical prison atmosphere Chao is able to capture portraits that relate true emotions and have open possibility for interpretation. With each project he has undertaken Chao makes efforts to avoid reinforcing a stereotype. In his restrained sensibility Chao unveils what initially drew him to these women, their extraordinary experiences and the sensations that come with those experiences.

Chan Chao was born in Kalemyo, Burma in 1966.  He and his family left Burma for the United States in 1978. Nazraeli Press has published two books by Chao. “Burma: Something Went Wrong”, a series of Burmese freedom fighters and “Echo” series of female nudes. His Burma portraits were included in the 2002 Whitney Biennial. Chao’s photographs are in the permanent collection of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, L. A. County Museum of Art and LaSalle Bank Photography Collection.


Gallery Hours are Thursday - Saturday, Noon - 5pm
(and by appointment)

4718 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20011
T. 202.462.1601
F. 202.462.1604