Shaolin: Temple of Zen | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
We need your help.

Newspapers and media companies nationwide are closing or suffering mass layoffs since the coronavirus impacted all of us starting in March. City Weekly's entire existence is directly tied to people getting together in groups--in clubs, restaurants, and at concerts and events--which are the industries most affected by new coronavirus regulations.

Our industry is not healthy. Yet, City Weekly has continued publishing thanks to the generosity of readers like you. Utah needs independent journalism more than ever, and we're asking for your continued support of our editorial voice. We are fighting for you and all the people and businesses hardest hit by this pandemic.

You can help by making a one-time or recurring donation on, which directs you to our Galena Fund 501(c)(3) non-profit, a resource dedicated to help fund local journalism. It is never too late. It is never too little. Thank you.

Culture » Entertainment Picks

Shaolin: Temple of Zen

Aug. 14–Oct. 9



Rarely do Westerners get perspectives of Eastern cultures any more revealing than detached images seen through the lenses of tourists’ cameras. Even more rare was the occasion for New Jersey-based photographer Justin Guariglia to experience intimately an ancient Chinese culture that has never been documented by camera and whose existence is unknown to many Chinese.

Guariglia—in the current exhibition at Utah Valley University’s Woodbury Museum, Shaolin: Temple of Zen—reveals a world he was invited into with warrior monks of the 1,500-year-old Shaolin Temple. In 99 photographs and three video instillations, the public is made a part of something very private, even sacred. Guariglia shares his experience with the Buddhist warrior monks who preserve the ancient kung-fu art known as the “vehicle of Zen.” The 35-year-old artist was granted access into the perimeters of this ancient society after slowly building trust with head abbot Shi Yong Xin. Guariglia’s respect for this tradition is maintained in the photographic essay, as he documents with full integrity the ancient kung-fu art form with candor and dynamism.

Photographer Edward Burtynsky says in an essay, “Justin Guariglia has captured one of the last oases of pure, unaffected Chinese culture.

His photographs reveal an extraordinary culture dedicated to the pursuit of discipline and excellence—where mind and body are stretched to the extreme.” Guariglia’s photographs reveal an early Chinese art embodying an ancient Buddhist tradition to today’s world.

Shaolin: Temple of Zen @ Utah Valley University Woodbury Museum, 575 University Parkway, Orem, 801-863-4200, Aug. 14–Oct. 9.