Gonkar Gyatso at Asia Society
Gonkar Gyatso, a contemporary Tibetan artist participated in a discussion earlier this month at the Asia Society. He spoke with two curators, Melissa R. Kerin and Katherine Anne Paul on his recent installation at the Washington and Lee University Staniar Gallery titled, Buddha’s Picnic. Furthermore, Melissa Kerin also focused the lecture on his series of self-portraits. The instillation incorporates aspects of sculpture as he has designed a shrine and the layout of a shrine room.
Buddha’s Picnic incorporates aspects of sculpture as Gyatso has designed a shrine and the layout of a shrine room. Upon listening to his reflection of the work, I think his interpretation and design of shrines represents the values people hold during a specific period of time. The shrine indicates many elements of popular culture. Not only does he collage images of politicians significant to Tibet but also places them in conjunction with famous celebrities like, Cristiano Ronaldo. It was interesting to learn that the shrines that he includes in his self-portraits have changed over time. He expresses the idea that through time people change their values. Furthermore, Gyatso’s work goes above describing what people assume of Tibet. Instead of solely portraying Buddhist imagery he incorporates western influence because the world is global. If he were to simply depict typical Buddhist imagery, he would be “othering” his country and people.