The Liu Lobby Gallery: Tales of Ecuador

Wednesday January 24, 2024 - Friday March 8, 2024


Tales of Ecuador Liu Lobby SPPGA

The Liu Lobby Gallery presents a 7 week-long exhibition featuring a photo-essay of conservation student and photographer Sofya Babak.

Exhibit: Jan 24 – Mar 8, 2024

Opening Reception: Join us on Jan 24, 2023 at 6:00pm for a special evening where you can meet the artist and enjoy light refreshments.

About the Exhibit:

In August 2023, Ecuador held an unprecedented national vote to ban oil concessions in Yasuní National Park. This win was made possible by people and for people – bringing hope for social and environmental justice. Protecting one of the most biodiverse places in the world means recognizing its intrinsic value, but it also means protecting vulnerable communities in the region and around the world. It means preventing and mitigating the consequences of deforestation and mining pollution. Within and beyond Amazonian rainforests – Ecuador continues to fight for conservation and social change. To share some of these stories, this exhibition showcases photographs from the Yasuní Biodiversity Research Station, as well as grassroots movements from three other different ecosystems of Ecuador.

In the Amazon, visual stories make one feel how alive this forest is and experience a deeper connection with distant natural wonders, and with people who care for it and are cared for by it. On the coast, first-hand stories of local conservation efforts from NGOs and MPAs. In the Cloud Forest, Pictured is the Yungilla community that lives proudly and prospers by means of ecotourism and sustainability grants. Finally, from Paramo Highlands, tales of the growing ecotourism industry and projects protecting water sources that feed the valleys below.

“With my art, I hope to shine a light on the power of grassroots movements and initiatives that have the incredible potential to improve livelihoods in Latin America and around the world, as well as draw attention to the importance of vast local and Indigenous knowledge that conservation relies on.”


Sofya Babak is a self-taught creative and documentary photographer and a Natural Resources Conservation student at UBC. With her photography, Sofya hopes to tell stories that help others feel, and amplify voices of social and environmental change, whether through abstraction of her style of “visual poetry” or through travel photography from around the world. Previously, Sofya has collaborated with Liu Institute’s Transformative Memory Network to digitize archives and tell stories of personal objects and tapestries from the time of the tragic war in northern Uganda.

While participating in the UBC Global Seminar in Ecuador, she has captured local stories of conservation success and the people behind them, showcased here. Throughout this exhibit, Sofya hopes to use her creative medium to facilitate dialogue about environmental and social justice in Ecuador and beyond. Other non-professional photographers who participated in the course and shared similar values are displayed in the exhibition as well: Siemon Joubert, Marin Phillips-Hing and Ethan Vayman.

The exhibit is free and open to the public during regular building hours, 9am-5pm. It is located in the Lobby on the first floor.

Curated by Fabiola Vizcardo.