The Santa Monica College Photography Gallery is presenting Crowns + Veils, an exhibit of works by award-winning student Javiera Estrada, through Friday, Oct. 29.

Crowns + Veils, described as a mixed media exploration of traditional photography, digital texturing, sanding, wood and resin, is on display in the SMC Photography Gallery, located on the second floor of Drescher Hall on the main campus, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica.

“Crowns + Veils is a photographic journey on humanity’s struggle between the ego and our true nature,” Estrada, of Topanga, said. “Years of cultural conditioning and programming have coated our essence with a dirty residue, shielding our souls with rusty armor. Underneath it all we are naked; flesh, blood, bones and heart. Behind every mask and crown is a brilliant spirit.”

Estrada produced her work while in SMC’s Arts Mentor Program, which provides students an opportunity to work one-on-one with a professor or professional – in Estrada’s case, SMC photography professor Ford Lowcock.

Classically trained in piano and violin, Estrada said she wanted to pursue her interest in photography at SMC. She was one of three students to receive an SMC Photography Department award of excellence grant in 2007. In 2009-10, she was also chosen for the photography mentor program, which accepts just one student every three years.

Three years ago Estrada founded the artist collective Cathexis, a collaborative group for artists and photographers. The Cathexis artists went on to produce numerous exhibits throughout the city of Los Angeles.

Estrada has exhibited in numerous galleries such as the Tracy Parks Gallery in Malibu and The Whole 9 Gallery in Culver City. Recently she unveiled new work in a juried show at SmashBox Studios in Culver City, along with pieces from some of Los Angeles’ top photographers.

In addition, she has received commercial recognition through many album and magazine covers, an SMC photography school spokesman noted.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Information, (310) 434-4289.

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