10 July 2012

World, welcome AKSHA.

This is a project that began when a group of people asked me to be their "hero."
I'm no hero. But I am an artist, and thus am FULL of crazy ideas. It also makes me familiar with the wonderful and painful process of making meaningful--and sometimes magical--things out of sheer imagination, sweat, comaraderie, and raw material. (To see a house-sized installation, a Zen-inspired story book, and a video shot through a microscope visit BrushSong.)

As it happens, that is something that artists and entrepreneurs have in common. My father, Rabel, is an entrepreneur-engineer. He is unconventional, to say the least. While in California, he won an award for designing a method of structurally "floating" entire buildings off their foundation to make them less prone to collapse in an earthquake. Then, he surprised everyone and became a certified massage therapist, starting a business in medical massage at the ripe age of 60. (And he's happier than ever.)

It must have rubbed off, because I attempted my first business endeavor at 13, getting all the kids on my block in Manila to "invest" pesos into a fund to start our own pet shop. My parents moved me from the Philippines back to the US before the pet shop was realized, but I never forgot it. In some way, this project, AKSHA, is my path to living out that youthful impulse.

So when I first heard the words "social enterprise" seven months ago at the INEB Conference in Bodhgaya, India, my ears perked up. Then when I was approached to envision an international program that would support artists of Buddhist traditions, I found the perfect opportunity to meld both.

This blog is about my journey on this wild experiment to see if it is possible. My goals are to generate the means for what the Buddha called "Right Livelihood" for myself and other artists. In particular, I aim to create a platform that will support artists from isolated communities who are engaged in preserving artistic forms of spiritual practice.

To this effect, I'll feature a different artist every 2 months. Look for:

  • photos of their work
  • videos of them talking about their process
  • and peak into the development of innovative products by emerging designers inspired by them.

This is huge and gorgeous piece by Somyot Kumsang. It is called "The Transformation" and I thought it would be appropriate as the first piece for this blog. 

It's made with charcoal on a large sheet of handmade paper (200cm x 100cm, 2011).

Like his students and friends, I call him Ajahn Pei. He doesn't have a website and doesn't speak perfect English (yet), but if you'd like more information I can put you in touch. 

Cheers, Minette

1 comment:

  1. I love this! Very inspiring! Go Minette!

    I would love to help promote your efforts anyway I can, especially since I'm building a community of folks interested in wellness and healing. There's a lot of overlap.

    Let's chat, email me at justin@yogastart.com!


Thanks, appreciate the mindful comment! - Minette