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. 

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Thanks, appreciate the mindful comment! - Minette