16 April 2013

Measuring the Lake and Archives

Since the proposed site-specific art piece for BIA is so long (150 meters or 492 ft), measurement and good planning are key to its success.
Mike Adair, who helped found the International Lay Sangha at BIA last year, and I recently measured the parts of the building that are key to supporting the installation. (Thanks Mike!!)

Sketch of the supports that must lift the cable above the lake over the course of 100 meters from the building to the island.

We may hang supports for the cables from the beams on the 3rd floor. 

View of the island through the fascade on the 3rd floor of the building.

This is the island to which we will stretch the cables in the installation. Our goal is to reach that special little Nalikae coconut tree in the center with approximately 800-1000 "flags of forgiveness" contributed by people around the world. (See my past posts in March, "Ajahn Pei Comes to BIA" and "Making the Path Over the Hot Wax Sea" about the inspiration for the installation.)

Mike has a wonderful tool for measuring that consists of a small stone with a natural hole that he brought from Canada, and a length of sturdy string. Here we are measuring the depth from the 2nd floor to the water. 

One idea is to raise the flags up to the 2nd floor ceiling here, across the width of the building and out to the island.

The first floor. I may also suspend the flags from the ceiling here.

This boddhisatva statue is where the flag cables will originate. This is the view from the 2nd floor.

The exhibition hallway on the 2nd floor.

The side of the building, view from the 2nd floor garden. 
The next week we went out to the lake to check its depth. Here's a picture from Kun Sariporn of Mike and I on BIA's little emergency dingy. Its quite thin and we were concerned that it might capsize! So I decided to leave my camera on shore, (since it can't swim.) 
Its a shame not to have photos of BIA from the little island, and close-up photos of the Nalikae tree as well. So next time I will put my camera in a bag and bring it with me. 

03 April 2013

Master Crayon Artist: Somyot Kumsang "Ajahn Pei"

Somyot Kumsang (known on my blog as Ajahn Pei) is a sculptor and master of Thai conte crayon (charcoal). Thai is a unique style that is reminiscent of ink painting from China and Japan, as it is executed with precise single strokes. There are less than a handful recognized masters of this art form in the history of Thai art.   The artworks here represent stories and teachings using mythical icons in the Thai pantheon.  Here is a closer look at the work of Ajahn Pei, whose artworks I feature on AKSHA's Kickstarter campaign and used as a basis for our first edition of Digital Wallpaper. 

 "Transformation" represents the journey of the mind from obscuration to clarity. It is an interpretation of a famous Tibetan painting depicting an elephant and a monkey transforming from black to white. It was used as a means of giving instructions on calm abiding meditation (Shamatha).Here's a version of the Tibetan thanka by Asman Lama from Mima Gallery   
The next piece "Cycle", represents the Three Poisons, the root causes of all suffering. Here we see a cock, serpent and hog caught in a vicious cycle. Known as "Lobha, Dosa, Moha" respectively in the Buddhist tradition, this represents an allusion to our states of mind and emotions when we are caught up in our own greed (attachment), hatred (aversion), and ignorance (delusion). 

"Dragon" is a piece that shows a dragon consuming the Five Skandhas (things, feelings, concepts, judgements, habits). 

"Garuda" demonstrates the mythical creature holding a baby naga, or serpent, in its clutches. Traditionally, garudas and nagas are understood as enemies in the Vedic pantheon that stretch from India throughout South and Southeast Asia. Garudas are human-like eagles, said to be born, bursting from its egg in mid-flight.  They are fearless, and this painting can be interpreted to represent our own fearlessness in recognizing our obscurations, literally, grabbing them by the throat, and taking control of our lives.  

Here are some of the versions I created for the AKSHA Digital Wallpaper Series.