Each mixed media on panel piece is 72" x 48"
Through the Buddhist archetype of the Arhat, these sculptural-painting reliefs depict how beliefs can travel, become embodied or projected, through internalizing and externalizing, from one body to another, through history. Unlike the paths of Bodhisattvas and Buddhas who attain a kind of perfection in Buddhism, Arhats too are on the spiritual path, have reached certain levels of attainment, but are considered to be flawed and can regress. Historically, in parts of South East Asia, some folk heroes have ascended to Arhatship as a way to get lay people interested in Buddhism. The figure of the Arhat in Buddhist iconography did not adhere to rigid modes of representation the way depictions of Buddhas were inclined to. Through depictions of Arhats, artists had the liberty to distort and experiment with sacred figuration. I’m fascinated in the transmission of Buddhism and spirituality within Asia and around the world, how its iconographies moved through commerce, as well as its co-option through colonization. I wanted to make Arhats that were materially ‘base,’ to be sites for the convergence of historic and contemporary material and image culture.