The Culpepper & Merriweather Great Combined Circus is a traditional, nomadic one-ring family circus that lives on the road eight months out of the year.

Following a route through small towns from the West Coast to mid-America, the close-knit troupe continues the tradition of the traveling circus. Unlike today’s overproduced theatrical mega-circuses, Culpepper & Merriweather brings together small-town communities in village-style events that many families visit year after year. These photographs explore the lives of the performers and the circus community at large, “under the tent,” and on the road.

As a Japanese photographer living in America, I am interested in interrogating the cores of both of my cultures – cores that are permanent, unchanging, nostalgic, and in a mysterious way, true. Against the backdrop of our digital age, Culpepper & Merriweather represents an unchanging core in American culture, occupying a nostalgic space that persists alongside the mainstream.

Artist Bios

  • Lieh Sugai

    Japanese-born Lieh Sugai is a visual artist based in New York who works with photography and video. Her subject matter is comprised of memories that occur between people and places, and how these are shaped by time, events, and culture. To explore them, she uses her dual perspective as a Japanese immigrant whose home is also in America.

    Having initially pursued Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, Lieh discovered a profound passion for photography that has since become her primary medium for navigating, expressing, and documenting diverse cultural landscapes by seamlessly blending conceptual and documentary practices.

    Her work has been exhibited at Foley Gallery in New York, Les Rencontres d’Arles in Arles, France, and 10 14 Gallery in London, England, among others.


  • Photoville


    Founded in 2011 in Brooklyn, NY, Photoville was built on the principles of addressing cultural equity and inclusion, which we are always striving for, by ensuring that the artists we exhibit are diverse in gender, class, and race.

    In pursuit of its mission, Photoville produces an annual, city-wide open air photography festival in New York City, a wide range of free educational community initiatives, and a nationwide program of public art exhibitions.

    By activating public spaces, amplifying visual storytellers, and creating unique and highly innovative exhibition and programming environments, we join the cause of nurturing a new lens of representation.

    Through creative partnerships with festivals, city agencies, and other nonprofit organizations, Photoville offers visual storytellers, educators, and students financial support, mentorship, and promotional & production resources, on a range of exhibition opportunities.

    For more information about Photoville visit,

Below the Big Top

 coming soon

Featuring: Lieh Sugai

Presented by: Photoville
  • Photoville


View Location Details Brooklyn Bridge Park – Emily Warren Roebling Plaza

1 Water St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Number 1 on the official photoville map Click to download this year's map

This location is part of Brooklyn Bridge Park
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This website was made possible thanks to the generous support and partnership of Photowings