Pilgrimage to the Roots of Our Heritage

Buddhist Art Gathering

October 19-25, 2011

Bodhgaya, India

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Introduction

As the Buddha?s teachings spread from India throughout the rest of Asia and beyond, the underlying philosophical tenets as well as its corresponding artistic representation also travelled to these regions. The Indian Buddhist artistic tradition eventually fused with indigenous cultural values and visual culture in these regions both in terms of content as well as aesthetics. Over the last two millenia, these artistic traditions have developed in unique ways, creating distinctly regional styles of Buddhist art that nonetheless share a common vocabulary of motifs, skills, aesthetic and spiritual significance.

In much of South and Southeast Asia, the development and spread of Buddhist Asian art was disrupted during the colonial era. Although foreign rule gave way to independent nation states after World War II, internal political struggles, ideological debates and rapid economic change left little space for arts and culture to flourish. Simultaneously, the incursions of Western imagery and concepts of modernity into these countries pose a continuous challenge to the survival of traditional Buddhist and Asian art forms and techniques.

Inspired by the historic cultural exchanges that shaped the artistic expression and everyday life in Asia, this workshop attempts to recreate a space for such dialogues and learning. We hope to repeat such workshops each year so as to ensure the learnings and relationships formed are sustained.


Background note

The International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) is a network of Buddhist, spiritual leaders, academics and organizations working on issues of common concern.  The Secretariat in Bangkok serves members in more than 15 Asian countries, North America, Europe, and Africa.  INEB members come together biennially for spiritual fellowship and exchange.  For most of INEB?s 20-year history, members have united around socio-political issues affecting member countries. However, in recent years, new programs have begun to emerge.  Members have come together to discuss topics ranging from the Buddhist response to climate change, inter-religious dialogue, and the potential of alternative economic indicators like Gross National Happiness (GNH).
 

After the 2007 INEB conference in Taiwan, a group of Sri Lankan and Thai artists began discussing the need for a program on Buddhist arts and culture. During the initial exchange visits between the two countries, participants were struck by the artistic similarities between heritage sites like Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka and Sukhothai and Ayutthaya in Thailand.  Following this joint art workshops and exhibitions were organised in both Sri Lanka and Thailand with the support of leading art professors. Through this cross-cultural Buddhist exchange, the artists had an opportunity to deepen their understanding of traditional art forms and explore ways of expanding their art to incorporate modern techniques and themes that are relevant to contemporary Buddhist society.
 

At the 2009 INEB conference in Thailand, it was decided to expand the Sri Lanka-Thailand art collaboration to include other Buddhist countries and accordingly, the idea of the ?Buddhist Art Gathering 2011? at Bodhgaya, India, was born. An organizing committee consisting of representatives from Buddhist organisations and art institutions around the world has been formed to conceptualise and coordinate the event.

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Advisory Committee

1. Mr. Sulak Sivaraksa (Chairperson, Advisory Committee of INEB / Sathirakoses-Nagapradipa Foundation (SNF), Thailand)

2. Rector, Silpakorn University, Thailand

3. Rector, Rajamangala University of Technology Rattanakosin (RMUTR), Thailand


Working Committee

1. Mr. Harsha Navaratne (Chairperson, Executive Committee of INEB)
2. Mr. Sone Simatrung       (Associate Prof., Silpakorn University, Thailand)
3. Mr. Somyot Kumsaeng  (Faculty, Rajamangala University of Technology Rattanakosin, Thailand)
4. Ms. Anuradha Nambiar (Director, The Research Collective, India)
5. Mr. Panuwat Jittiwuttikarn (Member, Committee, SNF)
6. Ms. Mareeya Dumrongphol (Silpakorn University, Thailand)
7. Mr. Prashant Varma (Director, Deer Park Institute, India
8. Lisa Bratt (Director, Stephens Village, USA)
9. Mr. Somboon Chungprampree   (Executive Secretary, INEB)

Host Organizations
? International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) {www.inebnetwork.org} 
? Sathirakoses-Nagapradipa Foundation (SNF), Thailand {www.snf.or.th} 
? Silpakorn University, Thailand {http://www.su.ac.th }
? The Rajamangala University of Technology Rattanakosin (RMUTR), Thailand {http://www.rmutr.ac.th }
? Sewalanka Foundation, Sri Lanka {www.sewalanka.org }
? Deer Park Institute, India {www.deerpark.in }

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Sponsors

1. Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), New Delhi 

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proposed methodology

INEB members in Asia will identify both young and experienced Buddhist visual artists working in diverse media as potential participants for the proposed workshop.   At least 2 participants will be selected from each of the following countries:

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India

China

Tibet

Nepal

Bhutan

Laos

Thailand

Burma

Cambodia

Vietnam

Sri Lanka

Taiwan

Japan

Korea

In addition to these artists (maximum of 50), select scholars of Asian Art as well as visual artists from the West who are interested in participating in the workshop may also be included.  All participants will live and work together in Bodhgaya for one week, allowing for close interaction.

The primary purpose of the ?Buddhist Art Gathering 2011? is to rediscover historic roots and relationships and to promote exchange between Buddhist artists from different countries.  The gathering will facilitate artists to:

  • Explore and discuss the history of their shared visual culture
  • Visit ancient heritage sites
  • Share their own work, ideas and experiences with other artists
  • Exchange notes on contemporary artistic challenges
  • Transfer and learn techniques and skills through collaboration and dialogue
  • Enhance their own work as individuals
  • Create collaborative artworks
  • Exhibit their works internationally

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The  ?Buddhist Art Gathering 2011? will conclude with the inauguration of an exhibition of all the artworks produced during the course of the workshop (whether individually or collaboratively) to coincide with the INEB 2011 conference.  Local and international media will be invited to the exhibition to generate further interest in and awareness of Buddhist art and teachings.
 

Following this exhibition, each of the participating artists will donate at least one of the works made during the workshop to the INEB. These will form a curated exhibition of contemporary Buddhist art that will travel to galleries, museums, and universities in different parts of the world. The exhibition venues being considered for the same are:

1. India, New Delhi

2. Thailand, Bangkok, Silpakorn University

3. USA, New York, Rubin Art Museum

4. France, Paris

5. China, Guangzhou, Academy of fine Arts 

6. Vietnam, Ho Chi Min City, University of Fine Arts 

7. Japan, Tama Arts University and Riyokoku University

8. Taiwan, Taipei

9. South Korea

10. Sri Lanka, Colombo

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In addition to a catalogue and print collateral accompanying the travelling exhibition, the participating artists? experience and dialogues at the workshop in India, as well as the public?s reaction to the exhibitions in Bodhgaya, Bangkok, and other major cities will also be documented and made available in DVD form.


Guidelines for participating Artists

Due to ?The International Buddhist Art Gathering ? being a travelling exhibition, artworks must be portable, unbreakable and light-weight. These could include two-dimensional visual arts such as painting, print making, mixed media as well as materials such as paper, canvas, fabric, and video installations. The dimensions of the artwork or composition should not exceed by the size of 1 X 2 meters on the wall plan and 2×2 meters on the floor plan.


Workshop Agreement

? The host intends to cover the costs of artists travel to Bodhgaya for the purpose of the workshop.

? The host will offer accommodation with 3 meals per day for artists during workshop and exhibition period: 17- 25 October, 2011.
? The host will offer the working space to the size of 2×2 meters for each participant.
? The host will offer 100 USD to each artist as reimbursements towards purchase of art materials.
? The host will organize a fieldtrip during the workshop.
? The host will provide staff and transportation to and from the airport and the workshop site as scheduled.
? The host will provide assistants during the workshop and installation, and maintenance during the exhibitions.
? The host will be responsible for the expenses of invitation cards, posters, billboards and catalogue publishing for the exhibition.
? The host will be responsible for artworks/catalogue shipping and handling for each of the international exhibitions.
? In case of sickness during the workshop period, the host will be responsible for the initial costs.

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tentative Workshop Schedule

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18th October 2011

0500 ? 1800:  Artists arrive from their respective countries

0500 ? 1800:  Meeting INEB Welcome team at Wat Thai Bodhi Gaya, Bodhgaya (Schedule, name tags etc)

0500 ? 1800:  Free time to visit Bodhgaya

1800 ? 1930:  Opening Ceremony at the Mahabodhi Temple


19th October 2011
(Wat Thai Bodhi Gaya) 

0730 ? 0900: Breakfast

0900 ? 0915: Buddhist chanting

0915 ? 0930: Welcome Address (INEB)

0930 ? 0945: Orientation Session (INEB)

0945 ? 1015: Introductions (All participants)

1015 ? 1030: Tea

1030 ? 1130:  Keynote address (Buddhist art scholar ~ as yet undecided)

1130 ? 1230:  Artists? workshop

1230 ? 1400: Lunch

1400 ? 1730: Artists? workshop

1730 ? 2000: Free time to relax, explore Bodhgaya and for dinner

2000- 2130: Informal artists? presentations


20th October 2011
(Wat Thai Bodhi Gaya) 

0730 ? 0900: Breakfast

0900 ? 0915: Buddhist chanting

0915 ? 1230: Artists? workshop

1230 ? 1400: Lunch

1400 ? 1730: Artists? workshop

1730 ? 2000: Free time to relax, explore Bodhgaya and for dinner

2000- 2130: Informal artists? presentations


21st October 2011

0730 ? 0900: Breakfast

0900 ? 1730: Field trip to Nalanda, Rajagriha and other local heritage sites

1730 ? 2000: Free time to relax, explore Bodhgaya and for dinner

2000- 2130: Informal artists? presentations (Wat Thai Bodhi Gaya)


22nd October 2011
(Wat Thai Bodhi Gaya) 

0730 ? 0900: Breakfast

0900 ? 0915: Buddhist chanting

0915 ? 1230: Artists? workshop

1230 ? 1400: Lunch

1400 ? 1730: Artists? workshop

1730 ? 2000: Free time to relax, explore Bodhgaya and for dinner

2000- 2130: Informal artists? presentations


23rd October 2011
(Wat Thai Bodhi Gaya) 

0730 ? 0900: Breakfast

0900 ? 0915: Buddhist chanting

0915 ? 1230: Artists? workshop

1230 ? 1400: Lunch

1400 ? 1730: Artists? workshop

1730 ? 2000: Free time to relax, explore Bodhgaya and for dinner

2000- 2130: Informal artists? presentations


24rth October 2011
(Wat Thai Bodhi Gaya) 

0730 ? 0900: Breakfast

0900 ? 0915: Buddhist chanting

0915 ? 1230: Artists? workshop

1230 ? 1400: Lunch

1400 ? 1730: Artists? workshop

1730 ? 2000: Free time to relax, explore Bodhgaya and for dinner

2000- 2130: Informal artists? presentations


25th October 2011 (
Wat Pa Buddhagaya) 

0730 ? 0900: Breakfast

0900 ? 1100: Moving all artworks to the exhibition area, discussing placement of artworks with curators

1100 ? 1230: Installation of artworks at the exhibition area

1230 ? 1400: Lunch

1400 ? 1730:  Installation of artworks at the exhibition area

1730 ? 1830: Closing remarks by Curator

1830 ?1845: Vote of thanks (INEB)


26th October 2011 (
Wat Pa Buddhagaya) 

0900: Opening Ceremony of the Art Exhibition and the International Conference on the Future of Buddhism


For more information and participation, please contact : secretariat@inebnetwork.org  

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Seeds of Peace

Seeds of Peace : A Buddhist Vision for Renewing Society.

The international magazine, Seeds of peace is published thrice annually in January, May and September, in order to promote the aims and objectives of the Thai Inter-Religious Commission for Development (TICD) and the Spirit in Education Movement (SEM) as well as the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB). In order to subscribe a $50/year donation is suggested. Personal checks from the UK, US, and Euro are accepted.


Title :
 Vol.33 No.1 Jan-Apr. 2560 (2017)
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