This is the piece showing at the Tibet House in NYC this Saturday, Nov. 19. Its on auction to benefit the International Network of Engaged Buddhists future art programs, and was created in Bodh Gaya this past month during the International Arts Gathering set-up by the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB). I've been remiss in posting pictures from that conference, but needless to say it was a crucible kind of experience.
Tents were set-up in the courtyard, tables and stands in each dormitory hallway. There was paint, canvas, paper, and clay strew about the various buildings.
Thirty-three of us creative-types, plus at least a half-dozen INEB organizers, descended upon Wat Thai Buddhagaya for seven days. We came in by bus, train and air from seven different countries. We barely shared any one language (except of course, the language of art). Needless to say, the poor monks and nuns had no idea what they'd signed up for when they agree to host us.
We held performances and slideshows in the dining hall hours after the nuns went to bed.
We sketched each and every nook and cranny.
We explored the art in new temples being built.
We visited holy sites. This is on Vulture Peak, where the Buddha first taught the Heart Sutra.
We had impromptu photo op sessions on the roof of buildings.
Some of us made absolutely incredible art.
We were inspired by the company of holy men, who were also artists.
We got our hands dirty.
We came with some pretty incredible work all ready to exhibit.
In short, we worked hard and had a blast. I met an incredible array of artists working in South and Southeast Asia. It was really a kind of cross-cultural Buddhist art college of sorts. It was a remarkable opportunity to be exposed to multiple traditions at once. Here's a list of us all:
Thai artists included Bhanuwat Kittivuthikarn, Mareeya Dumronophol, Apisak Wattiwanpol and Somyot Kumsang, Sitthichai Smanchat, Supot Singhasai, Surasak Rodphrohboon, Suwat, Saenkattiyarant, Chatchawan Rodklongtan, Lipikorn Makaew, Phra Pol Kuwiangwai, Peap Vara Misara Prakitsilpa, Plaek Kitfuangfoo, Boonrat Na-Wichai, Pornchai Chaima, Sone Simatrang, and Songdej Thipthong.
Indian artists included Kaustav Paul, who studies ceramics at Visva Bharati University in Santiniketan, and Bodh Gaya artists Anish Kumar, who studied Tibetan thanka painting in Nepal, and Jagjeevan Kumar, who is a self-taught artist.
Wang Jian and Zhang Hong hailed from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in China. Nguyen Xuan Viet came from Vietnam. Tiane Vilayphonechith and Chaleunphone Phonnabouth traveled from Laos. Zaw Win came from Burma and I flew in from the United States.