Why did so many cultures over so many centuries create Buddhist art? Let the new exhibition arriving at UBC Museum of Anthropology enlighten you.
Visions of Enlightenment launches May 10, with a 7pm opening reception for the public, and will remain at MOA through September 30. The exhibit offers a rare opportunity to view the MOA’s Asian collection alongside pieces from private lenders in BC and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.
Although many are familiar with Buddha sculptures, which will be included en masse in stone metal and lacquered wood, MOA has drawn together other exciting and lesser seen forms of media. MOA visitors will get to discover Buddhist paintings, ceramics, manuscripts and even textiles.
Visions of Enlightenment focuses on the combination of beauty and meaning present in all genres of Buddhist art. It serves as a crash course in Buddhist beliefs – many of the pieces reflect the Buddha’s teachings – in a fun and interactive way. The viewer gets to unearth more about Buddhism by decoding the hand gestures and attributes present in exhibit pieces.
While the exhibit looks at overarching themes across many regions of Asia, it also reflects the diversity of Buddhist imagery across time and space. Buddhist traditions Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana are all included.
According to the MOA: “In Vancouver, the latter traditions are well represented in the established Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Tibetan communities. The Theravada school represents the traditions of the Burmese, Thai and other Southeast Asian communities.”
Find out more by attending the Visions of Enlightenment Buddhist Art at the MOA opening night event May 10, or by attending the eponymous lecture, “Visions of Enlightenment,” May 13, at 1pm, when Margo Palmer, a Director of the Canadian Society for Asian Arts, provides a Buddhist art 101 round up and talks and putting together the exhibition (free with regular admission).